"You must be the change you want to see in the world."--Mahatma Gandhi
I was in the grocery store tonight. I needed some light bulbs and thought I'd shop for the dinner we're hosting tomorrow night. My cart was laden with wine, good cheese, organic fruit, chicken, and ingredients for dessert. As I stood in line at 9:30 in the evening, I waited while a young mother ahead of me struggled with her purse. Her two children were beside her, their eyes heavy looking and I wondered if it was past their bedtime. I looked at her items. White bread, a gallon of generic whole milk, and a five pound bag of russet potatoes. My reverie was broken by the curt words of the checker. "Your card's declined."
I froze. What could I do? I wanted to offer to pay for her paltry fare, but the last thing I wanted to do was embarrass or shame her. In those few wasted seconds, she hesitantly took out what was clearly a credit card and handed it to the checker. It went through, and she was on her way.
This happens all the time where I live. Maybe it does where you live, too. We're just a few miles from the Navajo Reservation, and the poverty there is astounding. It is a third world. And it is a black mark upon every American citizen, if you ask me. There are people everywhere struggling to feed their families; sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes we have no clue. There are probably women blogging today about some funny thing their kid said and failing to mention their need.
What should I have done? How can I quickly face a situation like that in the future? How do I avoid coming off as an over-privileged asshole who is showing off and expecting thanks and instead more like a woman who simply wants to lend another woman a hand? What do you do in situations like this? If you suddenly were handed the keys to a large charitable foundation, how would you disperse the money? Why?
If you would humor me, and help me out, I would be really grateful. So grateful, that I'll enter you in a drawing to win a beautiful "Be the Change Cuff Bracelet"(winner to be announced this weekend). With the purchase of the bracelet, The Hunger Site funds 25.0 cups of food. More importantly, it is a lovely reminder that in order for our world to change, we have to change. I want to. Do you?