Friday, May 2, 2014


At the last food bank we were at, there was a little signup table right by the exit, after you had picked out your stuff and packed it into the bags you were going to lug home and gone through the "free" boxes to see if there was anything good (matzoh ball mix, some boxes of cranberry juice, many, many Equal packets, &c &c). It turned out to be a station to register voters and there was a tabletop sign that said FELONS CAN VOTE! Everyone got asked if they were registered to vote as they left, sipping from juice boxes or munching on not-quite-stale mini biscottis (biscottinis?) (chocolate milk, caramel and walnuts, fuck yes) to punch their blood sugar up for the walk home. Get that food bank vote out, hell yeah. Everyone who was registered got offered a sticker, and everyone who registered put the sticker on their lapel, or breast pocket, or whatever, right there. I thought that was nice.

Now off to the Salvation Army food bank, WHOO. Stuff we desperately need right now: dishwashing liquid, kitty litter, cat food, oatmeal, olive oil, garlic, pepper, vegetables that do not come in a can. Stuff on that list I am pretty reasonably sure they will have: oatmeal. (And instant, at that. sigh.)


ETA:  The flippin' Salvation Army not only had REAL oatmeal, the rolled steel-cut whateveritis kind, but also REAL coffee -- a whole bag of ground, not even in those little filter packs -- tuna, bagels, tomatoes, and REAL green tea -- the first tea I have seen offered anywhere in a food bank around here (and by now I have been to a bunch of them). OHMYGOD TEA. I have been out for like a WEEK. And was reusing teabags before then. Bless their little hymn-singing socks.

A lot of food banks have the little "we promise to treat you like a fucking human being(™ David Foster Wallace)" notice tacked up by the door (along with the "you can complain no really if we do not treat you like a fucking human being((™ David Foster Wallace))" notice) and I have to say, so far they all have been stellar about that.

It is kind of grimly amusing that, no matter how hard the food banks try to offer alternatives and no matter how hard I try to use them, I have wound up struggling with a lot of the food I worked so hard to cut out over the past year -- more than a year: potatoes, non-wheat pasta (altho there were a lot more corn and wheat pastas offered than I would've thought), peanut butter, commercially made bread, jam, even in a few cases doughnuts and small candies (trust me, if a food bank offers you a doughnut, you are going to fall upon it like a human locust). It's not their fault, it just underlines the food deserts in this country. People who condemn poor folk for eating Mickey D's instead of canned vegetables have their heads shoved deep up their asses. Also I bet they've never tasted canned vegetables. I used a can of green beans in a pasta dish last night and I nearly used up my dwindling hoard of spices trying to make them taste like "something other than soggy bland sopping socks wrapped in decaying seaweed." And that was only marginally successful. And I'm an adult eating vegetables because I know I should and my health goes dramatically downhill if I don't. I can't imagine being a parent and trying to convince a kid to eat canned green beans rather than a dollar bag of McChicken McNuggets. I don't think you could succeed there even if you used the canned green beans as doughnut toppings.