because of our income, my hub and i qualify to visit the local food bank once a month as well as the local "free" thrift store. (yes, everything inside the store is free. clothing, food, household, etc.) while i have been grateful for this assistance, something has always bothered me. the vast majority of the items at the thrift store are worn out, stained, often so old the fashion is no longer in style. the food bank, the food items are sometimes held together with duct tape. the food itself is often very unhealthy with high amounts of preservatives, fat and coloring.
the guilt voices of society tell me "hey, it's food. be thankful. it could be worse." i also hear "that is what the poor deserve. they want more? they gotta earn their keep."
all of those voices--false. judgemental. truly and utterly wrong when it comes to the true inherent worth of us all.
ask anyone and they will tell you it feels good to experience the sensation of wearing a beautiful, new, clean article of clothing. they will tell you it feels good to put healthy, nutritious food in their bodies. in short--IT LIFTS UP A PERSON. and i gotta admit, despite my gratitude for this little extra help, i often leave these places feeling like a second class citizen.
while we visited the free thrift store today, i observed a young male in his early 30's or so browsing through the shirts. i noticed he picked out a red and black checkered flannel shirt. i wonder if he had ever owned a nice, new silk shirt. the shirt he picked out was old and looked tattered, and yet he obviously felt at some level he would wear it. as i watched him i so wanted to ask him if he would feel better if he could select from new or newer items of clothing.........
i had the idea of a new organization to help those with the lowest of incomes. they are every bit as deserving of luxury and wealth as anyone else and i do not for one second think they need to work hard or prove themselves to obtain that. we need to stop defining our worth on outside circumstances and remember our worth is always perfect, always equal, always present.
my idea was to ask for help from local grocery stores, clothing and household shopping stores. ask them to donate new items. healthy foods. while it may not fix the hunger problem or the problem of low income and poverty, it will, at the very least, boost the hearts and the minds and the feelings of worth of those who are in need of such little moments of luxury. and i believe that those increased feelings of worth can only serve to help these people and in turn, our community. our world.