Friday, November 30, 2007

SEATTLE: Give something up and give something back!

Do something good.
The other night, when my daughter and I were at The QFC I noticed that they have the pre-packed holiday donation bags out on the shelves again.
I grabbed a $10 bag and threw it on my cart without a second thought.

Darian looked at me and asked, "What is that, Mom?"
"Oh, well, these bags have food in them and when we buy a bag it gets donated to a homeless shelter or a food bank." I explained
"What does it have in it?" she asked
"Well, probably canned goods and non-perishable items. You know, stuff that can last without being refrigerated, but is still nutritious."
"Wow, that is really cool, Mom. I hope everyone does this! It seems so easy!"
"I'm sure everyone does, they have $5 and $10 bags, people spend that on coffee in a day!"

Then we got to the checkout and we purchased our groceries and our bag and Darian grabbed the bag excited to turn in our donation.
The checker pointed at the large barrels at the front of the store and she skipped over to it to put the bag in. When she got to the barrel she stopped and looked at me with a look of confusion.
"Mom, it is empty." she said flatly
I walked over to her and looked in the barrel. She was right, there were two bags in there and one of them was the one we just donated. While, on the other hand, the store is bustling with people and we are at a store that is on the edge of one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Seattle.
I asked if they had just been emptied. The checker said, "No."

As we were walking home, Darian and I got to talking about why I donate. I explained to her that when she was just a brand new baby I didn't have a lot. And when I moved to Seattle to go to school, she and I were really on our own in the new city and sometimes we really had to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers. I'm lucky, because I have a family that will always be there for me if I need them, I just try not to lean on them unless absolutely necessary. So, when I was on my own in a new city with a small child and not a relative in sight, it meant that I had to turn to outside assistance a few times in those first years. And because of those organizations, I was able to find safe daycare and go to school and make the very good life that I have now.

Darian then asked me why people didn't just give up their Lattes or cigarettes for one day and buy a bag of food. If everyone did that, they would fly through those bags.
And you know what? She is right!

Why don't we give up some $5-10 daily comfort habit for one day and use that money to purchase one of these bags?

See, when I was originally purchasing the bag, I just threw it into my cart without saying anything and had my inquisitive daughter not asked me about it, I might have purchased it and never thought about it again. I'm glad she asked questions, because it opened a dialogue and made her feel like she was a part of the giving process.
If you give something up, that you are used to having, for that one day you will be reminded of why you are giving it up and it will give you an opportunity to reflect on your life and community and how blessed you are to have the option of having comfort items in your life. For some people, good food is a comfort item!

Also, I asked the store manager, and he told me that when you buy one of these bags, that donation stays in your neighborhood! It goes to the closest food bank or mission to that store! So, you will be giving directly to your neighbors! That has to make you feel good!

So, between now and Dec 31st, I challenge you:
Give something up and give something back!

Here is the blurb about the program that is on the website (The people in charge of this)
Nov. 1, 2007 -Dec. 31, 2007

Share Your Feast this Holiday Season
Share Your Feast at your local QFC store beginning November 1! Keep your eye out for the pre-packed $5 and $10 bags of groceries to purchase and donate to Food Lifeline. Food Lifeline volunteer groups have been working hard at our Shoreline Repack Center packing bags for this annual holiday drive held by QFC. If you prefer, you can shop for specially marked items throughout the store or simply make a donation at the register when you check out.

Full Sail Brewery and Kendall-Jackson Wines are again partnering with QFC, so be sure to look for Share Your Feast items when you're buying your holiday beverages. Food Lifeline will receive $1 from each case of beer sold and $2 from every case of wine sold.


Anonymous said...

We donated last year thru QFC and this year as well.
We have the same story you do pretty much. When Connor was born (and even some years later) we needed extra help. If it wasn't for certain organizations I don't know how we would have fed him.
Also, I feel more inclined to give because currently my close family is in need of the help from food banks.
We aren't rich but I know we are more than taken care of and can afford to give the $10 or $20 to donate food to others.

Michelle Auer said...

"We aren't rich but I know we are more than taken care of and can afford to give the $10 or $20 to donate food to others."

That is exactly how I feel about it. I also love the fact that it stays in the neighborhood and that the kids can participate. :-)


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