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“Those people” eat quinoa too

“Those people” eat quinoa too

The blog “Scary Mommy” has a post from author Jennifer Ball that offers a compelling reflection on her Food Bank experiences, as both client and donor.  It’s called “Those People eat quinoa too.”

Speaking as donor to a food drive at her children’s school, she recounts the experience of meeting another mom who was disparaging of the ability of the intended recipients to appreciate what they were getting;

It was one of those moments in life, when your ears hear something but your brain can’t quite process it.  I was fairly certain I’d just heard her say what I thought I’d heard her say…but it didn’t really sink in. It floated there, like a film of rainbow-hued oil over a puddle in the street.

I spoke up, while she was still within earshot. “What do you mean?”. I wanted to know. I wanted to verify what she said, make sure I hadn’t misunderstood.

The woman stopped. She turned towards me, one hand holding a couple of manila folders, the other resting lightly on her hip. She was still smiling.

“Those people won’t know what most of that is. I mean, really, quinoa?”

Yep. I’d heard her correctly.

Those people.


And remembering her own times of need;

Once you get past the hardest part, which is walking through the door, being at the food shelf isn’t so bad. I mean, it’s not something that inspires one to burst into song and run around high-fiving people, but as far as life experiences go, not so bad. Sure, there’s the heat on your cheeks as you fill out the paperwork, giving these strangers your life history. Telling them how you got into this pickle. This predicament. Telling them what you do for money, how much you get and how you spend it. But you get used to having hot cheeks. You become accustomed to averting your gaze so as not to make too much eye contact. You eventually become, dare I say, comfortable at the food shelf.


Go read the whole thing, its worth it.


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Sandra Koenig

And yes, I understand that there is more than a small element of pride involved in my attitude. Pride is the plank in my eye, something I work on but have not conquered.

Jay Croft

Sandra, is there another Episcopal church reasonably close to you, which might be a better “fit?”

Sandra Koenig

I’ve been one of “those people”. After my spouse and I both lost our jobs, and I was forced into early retirement because of a stroke and poverty, I went to my (Episcopal) church, which had a food pantry. The priest told me he didn’t know how it worked, as others took care of it. The next month I waited on line until some man I didn’t know came outside and started yelling at everyone to make one line when the priest had said to make two. I would rather be hungry than to be yelled at and treated like one of “those people” at my own church.

Leslie Marshall

I feel for you. I hope people at the church were able to apologize to you ? More prayer time for ministries like that would be very helpful. Did the Priest pray for the food bank that morning? Or did he pray with the group that was standing in line? From his actions, I can see that he didn’t.

Leslie Marshall

sorry…I see that it was not the priest that did the yelling.

Jay Croft

The priest should be familiar with every aspect of a parish’s life. He or she doesn’t have to know the mechanics of the operation, but as a priest often deals with homeless and jobless people, there needs to be a certain level of knowledge.

I hope that yelling is no longer a feature of your church.

Sandra Koenig

A cradle Episcopalian, I am now ecclesiastically homeless.

Ann Fontaine

Our food bank in Lander, WY did not do heavy screening. We had a policy of only giving food out once per month per client but even that was not a barrier if someone needed food. We would check to see if you had been in before that month. I always felt like I was just a husband away from needing food – and all people were treated with respect. We did training of those who were helping to be sure they knew how to be hospitable.

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