Last night after his meetings, I went upstairs to his office and cried all over Cookie Monster. My heart is breaking right now.
No, this is not going to be a political blog. As a Transcendentalist, I am not a fan of government or religion. Society either for that matter.
What I do believe in is…
Helping your fellow man.
And I am working on a plan of what my part will be…
But let me tell you WHY this one is bothering me so much…
- I have worked in food banks in the US. I have seen first hand and spoken with families in need. These are not lazy people who refuse to help themselves. These are people just like you and me who have not had the same luck…the same breaks that we have. Do you realize that a huge percentage of people are just one paycheck from being homeless? The working poor they are called. I have spent most of my life as one.
- I have had to use food banks too. I am not too proud to admit that when the older ones were little and their dad was between jobs, yes, we too went to our local food pantry once or twice. It was so hard. That’s another thing people don’t realize…how heart-breaking, demoralizing, and difficult it is to go to these places. To ask for the help you need. People are not ‘gaming the system’. They are desperate.
- I grew up poor. I always wore hand-me downs. My mother cut my hair. And I was bullied at school because of it. And before there were food banks, the churches used to collect food a few times a year. Then they would divide it up into boxes and deliver it to families in need. My Nanny and I were almost always one of those families. It had lasting effects on my psyche.
But none of those reasons come close to explaining what I am feeling right now. The real reason that this one is hitting me so damned hard…
If Cookie Monster had not come into our lives eighteen months ago…
THIS would be me and PanKwake!!!
For five years, I struggled alone…a single mother on benefits. In one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London. We lived in private accommodation…paid for by housing benefit. In this situation…we would be HOMELESS. Our only choice…to return to an emotionally unhealthy and unsafe relationship in order to have a roof over our head and food for PanKwake.
Do you have any idea how terrifying that idea is? That after going it alone and rebuilding our lives, I as a parent might have had to put us back in the same situation that almost destroyed me…us. Knowing that right now other mothers may be facing that same dilemma.
Oh…and like everyone else…I knew this day was coming. I worked my butt off trying to make my writing pay. I could not ‘get a job’. Not and care for PanKwake the way she needs. What? Put her in school where she was bullied, overwhelmed with sensory overload, and could not cope…just so I could go back to work. Heck, even if I had gone back to my fundraising career, made the £35K I once did…even that would not have been enough to pay our bills in central London. Do people get that?
Families cannot afford to pay rent, utilities, and feed their children.
No, there was no way out for us. No way to break the benefits cycle. And nothing left over to save up for a rainy day…even when we knew this storm was coming. We were trapped. As millions and millions of other single mothers and working poor families are right now.
That is what I said to Cookie Monster…my sole laid bare before him. Gratitude…for certain. Love…without a doubt. Even if we were not privileged. Even if we must face that uncertainty, I’d want him by my side.
But we don’t. We live in an amazing #HomeCrazzyHome. We have a pantry that I can keep well stocked. I have a huge chest freezer full of food too. We are lucky.
I have always said that Cookie makes me feel like Cinderella. Never more than right now.
But with those blessings come RESPONSIBILITY! An obligation to help those whose knight in shining armour did not swoop them up and take them away from all that.
We had already discussed it and agreed that neither of us would go to a store…even for just one thing…without buying a can of something. Beans. Tuna. Soup. Pasta. Biscuits. Something. No matter how small.
You see all of the major grocery stores are aware of how desperate the situation is right now. They all are making it as easy as possible for all of us to help out…to make a small difference. By putting prominent displays at the front of the stores for the donation of those items. Boxes or sometimes even shopping trolleys…where it is as simple as dropping that can drop.
Anyone can do it. Fifty pence? A pound? Most of us won’t even miss it. But if all of us…every single one of us made that commitment that Cookie and I did…
It would make a HUGE difference to those families in need…especially now…the holidays so close. So many will be WITHOUT Christmas this year. Don’t make them do it on an empty stomach too.
There are other ways you can help too. That was what had me climbing those stairs to discuss with Cookie Monster. I am hoping to start one of those lunch clubs for little humans near us. A place where families can take their children for one hot meal a day during the school holidays…when the free lunches at school are not available. I’ll keep ya’ll posted on that…including a GoFundMe page once I have a location.
Oh, and Cookie being my amazing Cookie is backing me 100%.
But you can bring it even closer to home. You may actually know families that you fear may be in danger. Maybe invite them to Sunday dinner. Or take a casserole over to them. Order a pizza on the buy-one-get-one-free days…and take the other one to them. That would not cost you anything.
Politics aside…this is simple, folks….
There is a HUGE need…and WE are in a position to make a difference.
But it takes ALL of us. Each doing our little bit.
Put all those little bits together though and it can meet that need.
There is HOPE. It is me…and YOU. I’m in…are you?