Sunday, November 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing or Food Drive?

Day 37
“What are you going to say?” I’m prepping the boys before we start canvassing the neighborhood to collect canned food for our own personal food drive. 

“We need food!” A. answers. 

“Maybe we should tell them we’re collecting for the FreeStore Food Bank.”  I don’t want our neighbors to think this is my own personal extreme couponing. 

A. and F. are eager to be off.  We have a new wagon (thanks, Lucy!) itching to be filled and we are the family to fill it!

According to this week’s Enquirer article, area food banks are in dire need of wagon and wagon loads of donations.  More than 1 in 5 children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are at risk of missing their next meal.

It’s hard for my kids (or me) to fully grasp this when we live in a community where few go without anything. 

For our city’s children, that’s not the norm.  Cincinnati holds the unenviable distinction of ranking third in childhood poverty, behind Detroit and Cleveland.  City officials estimate 48 percent of Cincinnati children are growing up in poverty. 

The boys fight for the first block over who gets to pull that new wagon.  This isn’t going exactly how I’d thought it would in my head. 

“Boys!  Focus!  Food!” For some reason I’m now only talking in one word commands. 

“Get! Food! There!” I point to a neighbor’s house and A. runs up to the door and rings the bell.  I swear that kid is going to grow-up to be a salesman.  He refuses to take no for an answer.  It helps that he’s so darn cute. 

“We need food for the food bank!” No please, but we’ll work on it for the next house. 

The door closes and A. turns around and gives me a thumbs-up.  “This means they’re getting food!” He yells loud enough for the people inside to hear him. 

I return the thumbs up.  “Awesome!” 

F. struggles with the wagon.  It’s now more than half full with a variety of canned peas, corn and tuna fish.  It’s another block and another dozen or so cans before we round the corner and head home.  That’s when A. starts to sing. 

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!” He hums a few bars and sings again. 
My first thought is too much TV.  As he continues to repeat the phrase down the block, my mind wanders to the question of what makes a good neighbor. 

Across town or across the street, geography shouldn’t define or limit our definition of neighbor.  Or community. 

We help when we can.  Now we just need a catchy song…

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