I was on my way out. To the trash. With frozen lasagna. Seven single-serving boxes. That I wasn’t sure why I bought. Because I didn’t like it. I changed my mind. And posted it on Freecycle. Thinking maybe a student would want it. Since it was free. I put it on my porch. Where it could stay nicely frozen. And left for work.
Things didn’t turn out as I expected.
The first message said, “I will take them. We are so broke and could use the food.”
The second, “Last night we each had a can of corn for dinner. It's crazy. Are those single meals or the family size lasagnas? Either way it's better than corn.”
I stopped. And thought about a family living near me. Who had canned corn for dinner. I wanted to empty out my cupboard. And buy a gift card for the grocery store.
Another message, “We're just running through a rough patch. My van broke down last Saturday (coldest day of the year). They said I have to replace the engine, so basically we have to junk it. Being that I couldn't get to work I lost my job. My husband is working thank god but his paycheck barely covers the house payment and few bills. It's crazy. Thank god they can't turn off your heat this time of year LOL. It's tough.”
I get home as soon as I can. I’ve told her if I get there before she does that I’ll get together more food. But the lasagna is already gone.
The experience has affected me deeply. I think about Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. I become more conscious. Of need in my back yard. I resolve to do more. She is facing this challenge with remarkably good cheer.
Her last message was a thank you. “It took care of dinners last night and the other three were split among us all tonight. Thanks for helping us. If you ever know of anybody throwing any food out please have them contact us. Every little bit helps.”