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Over the last three years, our son has gone from an urban homeschooler to fulfilling his dream as a Soldier. It's been a wild ride, and there is so much more awaiting him. As a mom, I keep tabs on what's going on in the world, what he may be going through, what he may endure and how it may affect the rest of us civilians. And as a Pagan, I also like to learn from others who are or have served to understand their perspectives, victories and struggles. From what I learn, I share with others and have been faithfully doing so every week.

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Feeding the Needy through Pagan Pride

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Good morning everyone and welcome back! And yes, I hope those of you who have the day off are having a relaxing Labor Day. We're getting ready to get our grill on, with one dish already prepared and a few others in priming stage. We always make too much when we grill, so we make sure what we make, we actually will eat the leftovers.

With that said, it's fitting to remind myself about the people who don't have the luxury of not liking leftovers. My dad would tell us stories of real hunger, like the time he sneaked out into the kitchen to eat a raw potato. I have my own stories too; some of which we had nothing to eat, times where a loaf of bread was dinner, the times where we triple checked the couch cushions so we could roll enough pennies for chicken pot pies, and yes, the times we, as a family with small children, would walk several miles to our uncle's pizza shop to beg him for a free pizza.

And oh my yes, let's not forget the donations we received from the food pantries. Sometimes it was okay, but oftentimes, the stuff we got was awful. There were always canned green beans (which, to this day, I can't stand - not even green bean casserole), canned pumpkin (WTF are we supposed to do with THIS?), a giant brick of government cheese (which I'll attest makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever), a huge box of powdered milk (even mixing it with real milk was still awful), that restaurant-sized can of peanut butter and a few other odds and ends. A good trip was when there were things included like the ever-popular favorite: Spaghettios. That was a special treat - something most American kids took for granted we never had on our own - and honestly, we did not savor eating it. Yes, we woofed it down and wanted more, and that was knowing full well that was something we wouldn't count on seeing again anytime soon.

Some people question why poor people are always poor, and I would like to provide a link to a couple articles that puts things into perspective in a way I never could have.

- The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor

- 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor


The author, John Cheese - yeah, this guy gets it. He's definitely been there. I read both of those articles several times, and each time, I'm in such surprise on how much his experiences paralleled my own. The thing about real food tasting weird - yup. The part about over-compensating. Nailed that one, too. Even the part about stocking up with craptacular freezer foods, only to have them become freezer burnt in a couple weeks and therefore inedible - yup, been there as well. If you grew up in a solidly (upper) middle class background and can't honestly relate, or your only experience of "being poor"  is roughing it on Ramen noodles in college because you spent your allowance on Friday night's kegger, try reading the articles a few more times. 

With Mabon being just a few weeks away, I'd like to encourage you to participate fully with the food drive aspect of the Pagan Pride days happening in your area. We're celebrating our bounty, the Pagan Thanksgiving, if you will, and giving thanks means to be truly thankful for what we have. I know for certain we're blessed, so whenever there's a food drive, I do more than the basic requirement of a single, non-perishable donation. (Take my green beans, please!)

Here is a post I just submitted on a few boards for this Sunday's Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride:

"Ron, Ryan and I will be swinging by. Last year, we got some awesome bath towels from one of the vendors, and I'm hoping we'll find another special item or three again this year.

Each of us will be bringing a bag of groceries to contribute to the food drive. They say *1* non-perishable item, but really, if you hit Aldi, or you're a couponer, or you just really know the sales, you too can bring a large bag of groceries for about $10. I'd like to inspire others to do a little more than give away that can of ____ (green beans, in my case) from the pantry you have no intention of eating. Please consider giving foods your family actually likes, non-perishable of course, but stuff you actually like and think others would like, too. The more food we give, the bigger impact we'll make, and bigger charity impacts mean the more we're valued as equals.

Cheap yet healthy foods: Spaghetti and sauce (can be as little as $1 each, meaning it would take a mere $2 to feed a family of four!), breakfast cereal/oatmeal, condensed soups and vegetables, bottled juices, etc.

Also, please consider buying items that require no effort to eat: Crackers, peanut butter, (pop-top) cans of soups, ravioli, beef stew, tuna fish, etc. The neediest of the needy are living out of their cars and have no way to even boil water.

See yas Sunday and happy Labor Day!"


Last year, they collected a whole wall of food (photo courtesy of Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride, which only shows some of it!), and I'd like to see a second wall stockpiled for 2013!

This year too, just to keep in theme with our military brethren,
Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary will be honoring Military Pagans as part of the Opening Ritual:

"Join me & many others at Chicago Pagan Pride Day, Sunday, September 8 in Oak Park, 11am-6pm. I will be facilitating the Opening Rite & presenting a Fall Equinox workshop, Circle Sanctuary will have a booth."

 Since our son Ryan will be coming with us this year, I hope we can make it for this as well!

Well, I just wanted to get the word out, wish you all a wonderful Labor Day and Mabon, and I will be back next month! Take care and many blessings to you and yours!

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Lori Dake is native Chicagoan, a wife and mother to one and works in real estate leasing apartments. Things she enjoys are heavy metal, being a foodie (mostly vegetarian), camping, writing and painting.


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