After weeks of overindulgent over-consumption of sugary snacks of sorts seemingly innocent, I realized all of those should go. Anything that doesn’t nourish well – or, if it’s not my favorite coffee-dipping crackers – should go, but, unlike donating anything that’s not trash to a thrift store, there aren’t as many food banks in this area, and the ones that are around are more exclusive. It’s unfortunate how much food goes to waste that could be helpful.
Writing this essay might help.
If anything, it will go to show that it’s easier to donate a box of old clothes than a box of cereal. In my city, there’s only one food bank. This food bank’s hours range from the early morning to the early afternoon, yet when I drove past, there was no open indication that they would accept food donations. I suppose I should have stopped in to take a look, ask around, and made myself cozy with the notion of donating non-expired foods, or, went to some church.
The thing is: this is approaching the holiday season.
We’ve left the warm summer and have hit the cold spell of fall. This is the time of donation drives and soon, food drives. It’s not cynical to say that there are people in need year-round. How come it’s not easy to find these locations from the perspective of donating excess foods? Sure, a majority of the items I want to donate are sugary “healthy” snack bars, but if it’s easier to just bring the items into work to leave in the break room, what purpose does that serve toward me helping the downtrodden in my community?
All I’ve done is lighten my load.
It is nice to not have to worry about as much food. The two containers of pasta sauce I left today were approaching expiration so someone at work can use all of that to make some kind of fanciful meal or three, though it would have been nicer if they’d gone to a food bank for them to use in cooking food for people in need. This is the point where I’ll tell a story about something that I experienced a few years ago.
I went to a food bank for a meal.
I was working a warehouse gig and I was invited to go to dinner one evening. The invitation included the immediate note that it was a food bank, so it wasn’t like I was expecting to go to a usual dining location, and I was interested in seeing it. We arrived, pulled up a plate, my inviter knew some of the other folks there so we chatted for a while, we ate, we signed out, and we picked up some free days-old bread on the way out.
Nothing morally wrong about the whole thing.
This was a point in my life where I could have afforded to pay for a meal. It would have been better if I had made some kind of donation to them, if not then, then later, but it wasn’t like they were scrapping the bottoms of the food containers. Yet since then, that was a reference point for me when thinking in terms of wasting food. Can the food be reused? Honestly, most of our food, “expired” or not, can be reused.
Why can’t we donate food more readily?
Besides allergy and malicious concerns, it might just be a matter of keeping the prices of food at a steady value. I have a bag of quinoa that I have little interest in using up, so I may eventually want to donate this bag, too, and if we had more food readily available for all, then this bag wouldn’t be worth anything for me to keep in my pantry. I could bring it in to donate or exchange for other food I might prefer to enjoy.
That cynical thought concludes the political dystopian considerations.
Instead, I think we should focus our time in trying to help who we can and how – if that’s dropping off some food at work that we don’t need, if we see a cylindrical food drop-off at the local library, if our local “food bank” place seems to actually invite people to drop off food, if that’s donating time or energy to a local shelter, if that’s writing about how we might need more resources available, or whatever we can do.
Why spend that energy arguing with people online or in-person?
I’d prefer doing what I can with what I have, but, I won’t put in superfluous amounts of effort to try to make sure my excess pasta sauce will get into the hungriest mouths possible. Who am I to say whether it’s better that the food is donated to people at work versus someone that hasn’t had a steady paycheck and has had poor luck? It’d be nicer, obviously, to get that food into the later person’s hands. At what cost, though?
I’d prefer not to waste anything at all.
The fewer grocery or non-consumable items I buy superfluously, the less likely I will need to worry about what to do with certain items. I track my calories fairly regularly. My diet consists of just a few different types of foods throughout the week. The fewer variations I have in the main ingredients, the less I have to worry about buying something that I thought would be nice, on sale, only to never actually use it.
Those are the items that’d go to waste.
I hate to see items in my pantry that I had thought I’d get around to cooking but only to see that the expiration date had past months prior. Throwing things away like that seems more wasteful for me than buying some “collectible” item then later deciding I don’t care about it, like a music CD or movie, because at least those don’t have an expiration date, per se, and can be reused infinitely.
If anything, I would advocate don’t buy when hungry.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 214.5
– Last week’s weight: 216.0
– Difference: I did well here, but I did weigh-in with a bit of dehydration. I can spot when I’m dehydrated because I’m less motivated to do simple things.
|Inspirations: After realizing a source of weakness, it is good to address it. Later, I realized I wanted to write 1000-word essays instead of 500, so this is the first. I still have some 46 scheduled 500-word essays, so don’t mind the disparity.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Pictures: I wanted to have a nice photo from around the time I donated the food, but alas, it wasn’t that simple so I doodled out some cans of food that might be at a food bank using my ROW logo.|
|Written On: October 19th [28 minutes, from 1:12am to 2pm, with a break from “can be reused.” at 1:28am to “Why can’t we” at 1:48am, Wordcounter]|
|Last Edited: October 19th [Minor editing to tighten the writing slightly and include a reference to going to “some church” as a thought addendum. Second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|