“Waste not, want not!”

Songdove Books - scavengerBut many homeless people will tell you that they eat better from the dumpster bins of restaurants and grocery stores than they would have had they been working and earning an income!  Why?  Because modern “civilized” society is not only one of hedonism and excess, but also one of materialism and waste!  So much waste that food banks actively solicit produce and bread stuffs from businesses that “have no choice” but to throw out what doesn’t sell at the end of the day or week!  Even at that, food banks across Canada are struggling with increased patronage as the cost of produce, grains and meat make shopping more and more of a costly and affordable endeavour.

Songdove Books - imperfectpumpkinsIt is good then, to come across articles such as the following: “Ugly produce coming” where grocery stores are realizing that people actually will buy less-than-perfect-looking fruits and vegetables.  Browning bananas used to be turned into banana bread, smoothies, and other baking, cooking, etc.  Browning and bruised apples used to be turned into pies, juice, apple sauce, etc.  There really is no reason to waste food simply because of it’s appearance!  I am thrilled that Superstore will be carrying these and look forward to seeing them on store shelves.  Because of how expensive produce often is, I generally don’t wander through the produce section beyond the few bins I need to visit every so often.  But I look forward to seeing the “Naturally Imperfect” line here!

To understand the folly of wasting food to satisfy needlessly fickle pallets, check out this article regarding life below the poverty line.  In this article, interviews with attendees of UBCO’s Poverty Simulation, were very, very telling!  People who are in roles meant to help and assist those of us living in the low-income, working-poor stratas of society received a much-needed wake-up shock to the system, complete with such a swift change-of-mindset toward theft as to leave the one interviewer slightly reeling from the experience!

Proverbs says:

Proverbs 6:30-31  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;  31  But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

No one chides a person for trying to support and provide for their family, but when the thought of stealing to do so enters one’s head, yes, it is shocking!  Petty thefts to meet one’s needs initially create a sense of shame, shock, and the sense that the perpetrator has just stepped below themselves in order to survive.  There is a loss of self-esteem, a sense of self-judgement and self-loathing that kicks in. . . and if the perceived need to steal continues, eventually further loss of self-worth and self-esteem followed by despair where there was once desperation.  A kind of resignation follow suit and the person begins to see theft as a viable way of life.  What began as an act of personal desperation opens up a whole new world in the crime scene and eventually the person doesn’t recognize themselves anymore.

How do we prevent this downward spiral from happening?!  How do we prevent the level of desperation experienced by one interviewee in the above article?  This person was shocked at how far beyond the simulation their feelings went.  But as shocked as they may have been, this is the unfortunate reality for many who would otherwise call themselves upstanding citizens of society.  These are people falling through the cracks of society.  Their needs are not taken as seriously as they should be by those offering services to help them.  These people are often “over qualified” for the jobs they apply for because of being laid off at other jobs where they’d worked for years.  They might have health needs which, if they land on the streets, will lead to deeper and more dire complications often resulting in mental health problems that drive a person to drugs and alcohol to attempt drowning out.

The Poor Man's BudgetMy course, “The Poor Man’s Budget” can help people see where they’ve accidentally hidden their money.  It can help people discover ways and means of surviving on their limited budgets.  The course costs $5 per day, forcing people to choose between a trip to the coffee shop or 7-Eleven, and learning how to manage their finances better.  Benevolence ministries are more than welcome to sponsor people, particularly family members through this course so that families struggling to live below the poverty line can gain skills necessary to get through that financial period easier. Course info and sign-up forms are located here:  http://ow.ly/XzsqO

Businesses making life more affordable for the low-income earner are more than welcome to do their part.  Congratulations to Real Canadian Superstore and Your Independent Grocer, both part of the Loblaw family of companies, for doing your part in contributing to the betterment of families living among the working poor!  Thank you!