Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Power of Half - Update

A few weeks ago I posted about how moved I was over a story I read - a family who sold their house and gave half the money away, and moved into the smaller house and lived happily ever after. Really. So we decided to give away half of our grocery budget for the month of February.

For two paychecks, I stashed away the money, and shopped with the other half. I also made an effort to use what was in our pantry and freezer.

We had more than plenty and it's nice to have that Christmas ham (given to us by Don's company) out of the freezer. You know the saying about two people and a ham..... Ice cream tastes fine, even with a bit of freezer burn, with a little chocolate syrup on it. Superbowl snacks were easy to come up with - just pull out all the boxes in the freezer and consider it nice variety to have taquitos and super pretzels, and such. Our freezer and pantry are a bit more lean, and with moving 1200 miles south just a month away, that's a good thing - less to move.

So finally, finally yesterday we had a Saturday afternoon when there was time to go shopping. With a mental number in our head, we drove to the nearest discount grocery and started down the aisles.

Don't you sometimes have a conversation with someone, seemingly random and you know one comment will stay with you forever? Talking to someone awhile back, he told me the food at food banks is, in general, of very poor quality. That's it hard to use some of it, hard to take ingredients and put them together to come up with something. So we wanted to shop towards a goal of giving items like pancakes with syrup, or chili that had beans and diced tomatoes, or spaghetti with sauce. Peanut butter with grape jelly. And no ramen noodles.

As the cart began to fill to the top, we still had money left and so we added about a dozen packages of cookies because in spite of the problem of overweight kids in America, we still think a kid needs a cookie now and then. And we threw in toilet paper and laundry soap and bath soap and dish soap because if we're not mistaken, food stamps only cover food items, but everybody still needs to do laundry and dishes and take baths.

We don't know who will end up with any of these groceries - it might surprise us to see them. We do know there are kids out there who will have cereal or pancakes for breakfast before they head to school, who will come home to a hot meal, and maybe a parent offering a cookie and a listening ear. Maybe, just maybe it's easier for a parent to lend a listening ear when someone else helps them provide the basics for their family.

We did not give til it hurt, we didn't even give til it cut into our own needs being met, and honestly it felt so good to give that I'm not sure it could be counted as giving anything away at all. We were much more on the receiving end with this one. I imagine that's how the family who gave away half their house felt too, on a much bigger scale. We're already thinking, listening and looking around for where we can give away half again - soon. I'll keep you posted.

15 comments:

Becky said...

I am so glad you did this and shared it with all of us. What a great way to make a real difference. I'm going to have to get more creative.

Glenda said...

What a wonderful thing you've done! It's true, isn't it: "It IS more blessed to give than to receive."

Glenda said...

What a wonderful thing you've done! It's true, isn't it: "It IS more blessed to give than to receive."

Susanne said...

Such a great idea.

joyknits said...

Thanks, Bev! I've printed this to take to Women's Circle meeting tomorrow. I hope it will inspire us to do more.

Becky said...

That is awesome! I bet it was a blast!

Karen said...

Bev, this is just awesome. I am so inspired by what you and Don did. Love and many blessings to you, Karen

Gretchen said...

I.just.love.this.and.you.

Wonderful idea.

We get so that we can give.

Susan said...

This is sooo wonderful.

cheri said...

As some one who has worked at the food pantry for the past several years, thank you. What a wonderful, generous, thoughtful gift.

Theresa said...

WOW! You did some wonderful shopping and I know that there will be families so happy that someone cared.

Way to raise the pole for all of us!

Gretchen said...

I know you're vacaying, but had to tell you that I lurved this so much I linked to you. So good.

Becca said...

I love this! And I know from experience (not my own, but the people we work with) how much it is needed and will be appreciated! :-)

Kelly said...

You are precious! I'll bet you had so much fun doing this, and I'm so glad you shared it. Makes me want to go out and shop for others, too:-)

Chris said...

Such a great idea! And more than an idea - that you actually went ahead and DID it. How often we THINK about doing some random act of kindness but don't (or can't) follow through.