Sunday, April 19, 2009

God and Groceries, Part II

Hi Folks,

As I finished the last post, I was reminded of something from my childhood. Probably should have included it in the original post, but did not want to change it because my subscribers get automatic notices with each post.

Anyway, when I was about 12 or 13, our Boy Scout troop worked at the Salvation Army one Saturday before Thanksgiving, putting donated food into bags for the poor folks in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Our job was to put the stuff into the bags, based on the size of the family.

Now, some people would show up with six kids in tow, and when you talked to them, you realized that not all of the kids were their own. My job was to stuff the bags with the allotted amount of groceries per family, but I could never tell how big the family actually was.

There is a philosophical dilemma here--with limited resources (the donated food)--do you err on the side of giving one or two, or three families more than they are supposed to get, and at the end of the day, you have to turn people away because you have run out of stuff?

Another dilemma happened that day. How do you treat a middle-aged African American mother who comes with four kids, ranging from about 3 to about 15, and complains that she doesn't like Libby's canned green beans....she wants Green Giant? And she doesn't want store-brand rice, she wants Uncle Ben's?

Only a few years later, I was managing food programs for victims of the war in Bosnia (all sides) and impoverished people in Africa, and then in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Buj, India. No one there ever questioned the brand of food they were getting. They just shook my hand and said........."Thank you."

Love and Peace to all!

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