Friday, 12 October 2012

To Budget for Butter

When it’s gone. It’s gone.
You can’t bring it back.
Maybe if you can get a refund.
But when the money you own is spent. There is nothing left.
You can’t turn around and pick it up.
No looking in the rear view mirror.
It is gone.
Last weekend I helped out with the Granville Island Turkey Trot. A fun 10km run, stroll or walk on Thanksgiving Day Monday.

Granville Island Turkey Trot finisher's food.
Giving back to the community, the event partners with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
A good fit.
During the Thanksgiving weekend I worked in the official Turkey Trot merchandise store selling running tech tops. Appropriately priced at $25. 
Very cheap considering the actual cost to buy and produce.
The woman's official Granville Island Turkey Trot tech tops.
One lady approached the table and fondled the long sleeved purple woman’s shirt.
It’s $25 I had already said.
We chatted about the event light heartily. A perfect day. Weather, people. Food.
The merchandise table was next to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank’s table.

There they collected cash and food donations.
“I’ve been close,” she said looking over. “I would love this shirt.”
What she meant was, she’d been close to having to ask for food at the Food Bank. Buying a tech top for $25 was beyond her tight budget.
Earlier on I had asked the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Special Events Manger, Shelly Nizar, how things were going.
Her answer astonished me.
The need is the greatest it’s ever been in their 30 years of existence.
Over 27,000 people visit each week, 9,000 of which are seniors, many are students.
How can they keep up with the demand?
Everyday they need food. Everyday they see hungry faces.
Budgeting isn’t my strength. I’d overspent this pay cheque by moving into my own place, taking my 88 year-old Uncle away for a four day holiday, and buying a second hand table.
Leaving me penniless. 
Rather then asking for help, I decided to see what it was like to go without any money for 10 days. To see how I could manage my food resources.
Fortunately I had stocked up on pasta, rice and some flour. The vegetables were skimpy. I figured I could ration one green a day.
If I skipped coffee every other day, I could make the one pound I had left last for ten days.
But I ran out of butter. That bit.
My empty butter dish...
Then I ran out of milk.
I spent twenty minutes going through every old hand bag, jacket pocket and backpack looking for loose change. OMG. I found a loonie! I jumped for JOY!
It was a walk to the closest store.
$2.51 for a litre of 2% milk.
I counted out the pennies after the loonie and the loose nickles and dimes. The young cashiers were patient.
“Do you want a bag?” they asked.
As I walked home I felt so rich. I have milk!
What about those who don’t?
I became creative with my meals. Savouring an evening meal. Eating slowly like it was my last bite. Hoping for lunch leftovers.
Some nights I went to bed hungry. If I’d had more, I would of eaten it.
But I didn’t.
Like so many.
Every dollar you donate turns into $3 of buying power.
Can you help by making a monthly donation?

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