June 1 – pm

June 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm 3 comments

Day number two – or maybe just full day number one.

Cereal for breakfast – this is nothing new, I normally eat Honey Nut Cheerios every weekday morning for breakfast and actually couldn’t be happier about it. Even on weekends when there is more time in the morning, Cheerios are my pick unless we make breakfast plans with a friend. Today it was Lucky Charms – so maybe just “a little” more sugar than I need first thing, but kind of exciting – I’ve never really eaten Lucky Charms, maybe only once or twice as a child when I happened to stay over at a friend’s place (there was a strict no sugar cereal rule in my parents home).

Lunch worked out about as well as it ever does – I’m more of a snacker than sitting down to officially eat lunch. It just seems like there is never time for lunch and today was no exception. Happily I had a package of fruit snacks, a can of V8 (yay vegetable servings) and I was very very curious about cotton candy pudding – I’m not so curious now. . . also although I had packed my ginger stir-fried green beans and wild rice leftovers these came home with me for dinner. Today would’ve been a good day for my stash of almonds, something I turn to when lunch turns into a disaster.

Although I have a plan for all my groceries for the week, I also know that this plan can be thrown off the rails depending on what time I get home from work, so as the day progessed plans started to diminish from spaghetti and sauce, to mac and cheese with hot dogs, green peppers and tomatoes mixed in to what I actually had; my leftovers that were supposed to be lunch and mushroom soup with a package of mushrooms added in and crackers. How would this meal differ from what I might normally have on an evening where I end up working late? Not much actually, it would probably be some random mix of whatever I find in my fridge and cupboards. Turns out the boy had decided to have hot dogs, since he’s leaving on work soon he’s been sort of participating, really only supplementing with things we already have here and I had purposely let our regular store of groceries run down in preparation.

So far it has been a good experience, I plan to make that spaghetti sauce tomorrow night.


Entry filed under: Calgary Food Bank, Kristen.

Los Ñoquis del 29 Dave – Day 2

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alex  |  June 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Kristen
    This is a great idea. I’ll be so interested to hear how you all feel by the end of the week. As a long time FoodBank volunteer, a have a few thoughts:
    – the biggest problem seems to be putting together enough suppers which provide protein
    – several participants have talked about the mishmash of items eq. having a package of coleslaw but no dressing. I remember the days when we shopped for a client, one at a time, and we were able to put a more thoughtful hamper together, but they were also the days when our maximum number in a day was 50.
    – I am concerned with the lady who did not get pasta – I’m pretty sure that is a Guaranteed item.
    – even as a volunteer, when we are sorting donations, it is shocking how much non-nutritious, treat-type food we receive. one of the participants mentioned she could remember her mom donating chocolates, to provide a treat for someone down on their luck. Perhaps many donors feel that way!
    – I remember many years ago, we tried including some “suggestion sheets” for dinner ideas and recipes, and they were not a big success
    – one thing I had not thought about before is the effect of the lack of choice/loss of power a client must feel.
    – and finally, the thing that most disturbed me was the participant who wrote about the whole philosophy of charity. It is something that has indeed bothered me at times and I would ignore those feelings and “feel good” that at least I was helping out, but it really does get me down sometimes that I “joined” over 20 years ago, just after it became apparant that the FoodBank was not a temporary solution…and what changes have I seen? The Calgary FoodBank has become an extremely efficient business which manages to answer a continually increasing need…in an affluent city, in a rich province, in a modern, resource-full country. Not right.

    Anyway, this was rather long-winded. and you need to think about what to put together for dinner!

    • 2. Kristen  |  June 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm


      Thank-you so much for the very thoughtful post. Certainly on a number of points it seems like we have not yet come up with the perfect way to put together a food hamper. In the flurry of activity of trying to bring in, sort, check, pack and distribute the 220+ hampers each day, occasionally some of those guaranteed items must get missed being put into the hamper – or maybe it’s happening more than occasionally. But as you know on pretty much any given day of the year there is a “new” volunteer helping us out, from the corporate volunteers, to families and individuals we have a strong volunteer base, but with something like over 4000 volunteers giving their time common sense just tells me that things are probably a little inconsistent – but I know volunteers are always trying thier best.
      The philosophy of charity is something I do debate within myself, these same thoughts expressed by you and my fellow blogger seem even more complicated when I consider the concept that in Canada we have the luxury of saying that the government and business should be doing more to create this idea of a “living wage”. In so many countries people cannot count on their governments to even consider such legislation, never mind even try to act upon it, so they must rely on each other – when one has something to share, they share it because it is likely that tomorrow they will be the one in need.

  • 3. armikaipainen  |  June 3, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I often grapple with the limits of charity vs justice (and get my students to do so as well). There is most definitely a place for charity! Even if we had a living wage and social assistance rates that lifted people out of poverty, we would still need “emergency” responses – someone fleeing domestic abuse, a family devastated by a fire, a new Canadian – anyone who is “waiting” for another form of assistance to kick in.

    Janet Poppendieck wraps up her book on emergency food (Sweet Charity: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement) with an interesting allegory of a community responding to of all things, babies floating down a river. It begins with the emergency response, but the babies keep coming. So they develop new strategies and infrastructure to address the problem. More babies. Soon, they can’t rescue all of them and some slip by. Someone asks if they should go up river to figure out what’s going on and maybe address that problem because the emergency response isn’t working.

    Simple allegory, but profound. We’re very fortunate in Calgary as we’ve seen by the remarkable response to the hunger problem from groups like the CIFB. But people can still slip through. Truth is, we need both – the emergency response, and the looking ‘up the river.’


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