Is It Being Schmaltzy or Just Thankful – My Blessing For Today

I haven’t ‘broadcast’ the fact that I go to our neighborhood food pantry once a week to help supplement our food supply each week. On one income and a budget that is strained to the hilt, there usually isn’t much left over to take care of things like major shopping trips to the grocery store. To be perfectly frank and honest – if I spend $100 at the grocery store each month to feed my family of four it is a miracle. It’s more like maybe $50 a month that we spend purchasing food, the rest we receive from the food pantry. So there you have it. My dirty little secret I don’t tell anyone (except for the ladies who go to the pantry with me). That’s our life, such as it is. We make due, and for that I am thankful.

Usually, there is enough to go around for everyone, but this week was rough. There were an unusual amount of people today (quite possibly because of the massive cuts in food stamp benefits that have hit our local area) and not enough meats to go around. For a family of four, I came home with a package of five bratwurst and four hot dogs and that was it. Yeah, not exactly life-sustaining or even supplemental material – but I was extremely thankful regardless because I could have had absolutely nothing like when I arrived.

I complained, once we were in the car however, to my other passengers. (I was designated carpool driver today.) It just didn’t seem right that they would put out food that had been frozen, thawed, re-frozen and turned from a fresh pink-red to a nasty looking black color. Would YOU purchase that in the grocery store to serve to your family? I think not. So just because I am coming to the pantry for help, doesn’t mean I’m going to feed my family something that could also cause them harm and massive doctor bills.

I started thinking about how I was going to try and stretch the bratwurst and four hot dogs to last until payday on Friday, and started having an anxiety attack because come on, be real, that just ain’t happening with two hungry boys in the house and a man thing with an appetite as well. I’d be lucky if that meat made it past 4pm today.

So I dropped off my passengers at their respective homes and headed back to our apartment. My little guy had accompanied us today (no school) and we carried our three half-filled bags into the house and started to unpack our breads and the sweets (cookies, cake, etc.) of which there were plenty but not what I wanted my kids to fill up on, you know? Something is better than nothing though.

I got the bags unpacked and was headed to the bedroom to have a good cry and finish my anxiety attack when there was a knock on the door. My little guy informed me that Ms. Joan was at the door for me. When I opened the door, there stood Joan with four bags of groceries for the boys!

Meats and waffles and spaghetti sauce and chicken and a roast – I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks that I just burst out crying and couldn’t even speak. Joan, being a woman, naturally understood and just hugged me till I calmed back down. Hubby, on the other hand, said I was just being schmaltzy and “overly-emotional” but thanked her deeply as well.

Whatever you want to call it – schmaltzy or thankful – I am truly blessed to have such giving and wonderful neighbors. Just one more reason why I love living at The Pines, the close-knit community and extended family my neighbors have become. I love them all and especially Ms. Joan, for her Thanksgiving and Christmas gift all rolled into one.

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