Yesterday, my “non-essential” furloughed federal government employee husband (with the USEPA for 28 years) and I went to a local food pantry about 30 miles from our home to get some food.
We were looking to subsidize what we already receive from our Blue Apron subscription (3 meals a week) before another missed paycheck arrives this Friday.
The experience was humbling. We were humbled because we thought of those who rely on places like that every week. Humbled because of those who may not even be able to afford the gas or have a car to get there. Humbled because we had not regularly given thought to those who need facilities and resources like this one.
We were also overwhelmed because while the volunteers meant well, they looked at and treated us like what I believe zoo animals might feel like – strange…
Mister had to explain that he was furloughed to three different employees and then listen to each of their opinions and thoughts about why the politicians are or are not coming to a compromise (we kept our mouths shut tight).
We were humbled because our choices – the ones we don’t even think about having any more – were limited to what was in this fridge for produce; the profuse apologizing for the lack of choices made it clear that we had come on the wrong day to get the usual bounty (how would we know?).
I was tempted to feel shame. Because this is what people do when we’re uncomfortable or feel out of control. Rather than attempt to empathize – we take to sharing all of our political opinions or thoughts about what people should or should not be doing in these situations never thinking it could be us.
Well, it IS us and 799,999 others and their families. Many of them “essential” employees meaning they have to go to work without pay or fear of losing their jobs. Can you even imagine the morale in some of those places? They don’t even have time to go and visit a place like this one because they are still required at their workplace.
We are so thankful for places like the food pantry we visited, God’s provision is evident. It’s not easy, but we are living Acts 14:17 as we walk out our shutdown story.
I’ll be back in this space tomorrow to share about our experience with a free meal at a local restaurant and an FDA employee who was there taking advantage of the blessing; she works in food inspection y’all.