Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That's MY Goldfish!

A couple of weeks ago I found a flyer in our mailbox from Scouts Canada. Every year they hold a drive to collect food for the local food bank. Boys as young as five struggle to lug the heavy bags down the stairs and back to their waiting wagons. These kids are from my neighbourhood. Most of them will live a pretty privileged existence and, God willing, will never know what it means to go hungry. I'm glad the Scouts are teaching the kids to give back. I wish our local chapter of Girl Guides did something more visible and beneficial to the community than selling cookies, but that's another story for another day.

I forgot until the morning of the collection to pack our bag of non-perishables. These poor kids were hauling their little asses out of bed at the crack of dawn to collect food for the hungry, the least I could do was make it worth their while. Thinking she was out of the room, I put a package of Goldfish crackers in along with the soups and dried pasta. I don't think getting your meals from a food bank means a mom shouldn't know the silence a bag of Goldfish can provide.

I was in the homestretch when she spied it. Shit.

Cue the howling of a toddler watching her beloved fish crackers headed out the door. Yes, there were two more bags in the cupboard, but dammit, she wanted THOSE Goldfish. I sat down with her on the couch to explain that we were giving some of the food that we have to people who didn't have any. Puzzled, she said "They should buy groceries, Mommy!" Then I tried to have a conversation with a two year old about money. That was fun. Of course she didn't "get" it, but she did agree that sharing her Goldfish would be a nice thing to do, so in the bag they went.

Food bank use levels are still high. A disproportionate number of the people served by those food banks are children. That's kids too hungry to concentrate at school, and it makes me very sad. In about 10 minutes on a Saturday morning I could find enough non-perishable food that I could live without until my next shopping trip to fill a bag. I bet some of the people reading this right now could do the same, so please think about giving to your local food bank.

OK, I'll hop off my soap box now.

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Teena in Toronto said...

The foodbanks here in Toronto are always in need of food.

Bibliomama said...

Ha! We would have had the same problem with my daughter at two. My son's hockey team is collecting food right now, except my brainless husband keeps forgetting it on the table - our table is about to collapse under the weight of Campbell's Chunky Creamy Chicken Chowder and k.d. at the moment. I'd throw in some goldfish if I thought it would get it all out of the damned house.

Catch My Words said...

It's so hard to teach that concept to a little one, but kuddos for trying.


Unknown said...

Sometimes 2 year olds just don't get it! Great post!


The Host said...

@Teena, I wish we could meet the demand, but every drive the call to action is stronger.

@Bibliomama, I'll send you some to include, if I can pry them out of the kid's hands.

@Joyce, I'm sure we'll have the conversation again. And again. And again.

@Kathy, well, she's supposed to be selfish now, but I hope someday she gets it and feels compelled to help.