It’s a terrible time of year: Thanksgiving Food Basket time.
My church is associated with a food pantry I’ll call CC. Every week, the Kiddos and I pick something for the CC collection bin: coffee, soup, cereal…whatever they’re asking for.
At Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, CC asks individuals to put together a “food basket” containing the entire holiday meal.
Family 2E is the unlucky family I managed to get.
I always screw up when I’m buying CC an entire Thanksgiving dinner, and for Thanksgiving it’s even worse than Christmas and Easter because the whole holiday is the food. Even if I buy the right hings, I forget to put something in the box. One year it was the butter (which no, is not on the list of items to buy) and I felt guilty considering all the things you need butter to do: for stuffing, for buttering rolls, and so on.
I have no more information than “two adults.” No preferences, dietary restrictions, nothing.
(Last year it was worse–ONE adult! Think about that. One person, alone, no money for food, and how lonely the holiday when everyone celebrates family and you’re cooking a huge meal donated by a stranger, and it won’t have the elements you think important. Everyone I’ve spoken to has the same reaction: Can’t I just invite the person to my house?)
I’d come home from shopping in tears. Last year, my Patient Husband figured out why: my unstated goal is to make the recipients feel like an honored guest in my home.
He makes sense: I was raised in an Italian household. Food means love. Love means food. It doesn’t have to be lots of food–to me, it’s special food, food made with care. If I were inviting them, I’d ask what they want. Through CC, I can’t do that.
Knowing that, I took action. Last Thanksgiving, I asked God if he could let my guardian angel find out from the guardian of the recipient (the lone adult) if there was anything she wanted special.
In my head, I swear, I heard, “Cornbread stuffing.”
Cornbread stuffing it was! A few other items seemed to leap into my cart. This helped my mental state tremendously. And this year, I’ll do the same. I figure it can’t hurt.
Dear Family 2E: I’m sorry you got stuck with me. But I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving anyhow. Love, Philangelus