Stewardship of Life

SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge–Day 16

Posted in Just Living by Sharron R. Lucas on June 16, 2010
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When greed and need collide (or how the dog ate the bacon and almost ruined the brunch)

This is a true story. Once upon a time (actually this morning) I was frying up a pound of bacon for brunch. More than half of the package was still on the counter next to the stove. The biscuits were in the oven, the grits were on the stove, and the eggs were ready to scramble for a true Southern feed. The door bell rang, and I went to answer it. In the brief amount of time it took for my guest to enter the house, exchange greetings, and walk into the kitchen, Pete the Springer Spaniel helped himself to more than half a pound of raw bacon that remained in the package. He did so without the slightest hint of remorse, and was caught shortly thereafter counter-surfing for more. It’s not like I don’t feed him!

Fortunately I’d bought the bacon on a buy-one-get-one-free special, so there was still an unopened package in the fridge. I was able fry more and provide a gracious plenty, although I was perturbed that said canine chomped down on some of my SNAP budget allowance. When you realize the supply of food is limited, dog-ingested bacon takes on new value. I wanted to mentally flog myself for not considering his counter-surfing abilities and unceasing greed as I tried to balance hospitality and cooking (chewing gum and walking at the same time is also difficult for me).

The moral of this story is that chaos ensues when greed and need collide. True, this is a miniscule example, but it is telling nonetheless. Pete’s greed keeps him constantly vigilant whether he’s stealing our miniature poodle’s kibble or gobbling down bacon or straining at his leash for some random, unsanitary abandoned scrap of food on one of our daily walks. He always wants more and is truly what one could term a “chow hound.” My need to stay within my SNAP budget caused me to be quite frustrated with said chow hound. I know it was only $2.00 worth of bacon and not even good for me at that, but it’s the principle of the matter that irks me.

Shouldn’t the principle of the matter that so many children go to bed hungry in America irk all of us? Shouldn’t the fact that we are one of the most food rich and nutrition poor nations in the world concern us? Shouldn’t the reality that one in eight of our neighbors needs some sort of SNAP assistance to make it through the month concern us? Shouldn’t we care that in this land of plenty there are vast “food deserts” where our sisters and brothers lack adequate access to basic foods? Why aren’t we able to do more about this collision of greed and need in the good old U.S. of A.?

Identifying who is greedy and who is needy can be a complicated affair because the lines are not always clearly drawn. Sometimes the needy can be greedy. There are those who cheat the system without remorse in no more respectable fashion than my counter-surfing, bacon-slurping pooch. Of course, the greedy can be needy, too. The needs may be more power, more money, more control, or more greater profit margins. There is great danger in pointing fingers and saying with certainty who falls into what category.

Sure, I’d like to point to an amorphous body like the HFCS lobby or Monsanto and holler “You greedy money-grubbing parasites.” However, that would not be particularly productive or even accurate. I would do better to look at my own complicity in a broken system. Am I more willing to shovel my meager donation dollars to distant hunger programs than to forge relationships with those in need? Do I really want to pursue those relationships and learn from the experiences and wisdom of those who my own actions have affected? Am I willing to forego buying the cheap factory farm product in favor of supporting local agriculture and sustainable farming practices? What will it be: save a dollar or support a farmer? Sadly those choices do not seem as clear and discernable as my dog’s decision to go for the porcine gold.

Yes, when greed and need collide all kinds of strange things happen. I am broken and fallen but trying to understand and change my ways, to walk with and get to know my neighbor. I am trying to invest the time and energy in lasting change and better ways of being and living in this world. It is not easy; all too often I find myself on the collision course without even realizing it. I am humbled by the SNAP to it Challenge and aware of my own participation in this flawed system.

How about you? What is your experience with the collision of greed and need? Oh, make sure you watch your bacon.

State of the Pantry

I had to buy milk, crackers, and orange juice today since my oldest daughter is home for a couple of days. Total spent: 8.46. Total remaining: 20.01 for 14 days. It’s a good thing the pantry is still well-stocked. Breakfast/brunch is covered above. Supper was leftovers. Snack was a granola bar.

Website of the Day

Day1 is celebrating its 65th anniversary with several partners and a focus on faith and global hunger. Click here to access a treasure trove of resources and hear Dr. Carter Hodding III, Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad, and former President Jimmy Carter.

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