The lines in the city are never ending. On E. Hanover they were giving out produce for free--one of the many food pantries around. I suppose they believe they're doing there civic duty--and most people are too poor or too hungry to feel anything but gratitude.
Even though the food smells too 'ripe'...even though some of it is past it's expiration date.
I got in line today just to see for myself. The July air was humid even at only 9 am in the morning. There was a homeless man on a bike behind me trying to sell a box of Christmas lights. Then, perhaps feeling magnanimous, he decided to just give them away. His reason being that he didn't have a home any how in which to hang up the lights.
I stood in line, fanning myself and talking to this woman who was excitedly telling me about other pantries in the cities. She mentioned that the nuns were "kind of mean" at Mount Carmel Guild on Clinton Ave. I never heard of 'mean nuns' before. But in this city, you can't really be all that surprised.
But I stood there talking to this woman, and she pointed out this African White dove she had in a cage in the back of her car. She told me that he liked to go out for rides--so she'd take him along with her sometimes.
It was one of those conversations you are forced to listen to because it's not in you to be impolite.
I get up to the stand, and the produce looks, quite frankly--disgusting. There was a sign in front that said you were only allowed 3 items and some sort of bread. I got bananas, radishes, some sort of pound cake and veggie dip. I won't eat it. I just had to see for myself what people consider charity.
A supermarket's left overs.
What they couldn't sell.
It had nothing to do with charity.
But people eat it up--literally. And at the very least, you can never go hungry in this city. You may have to put up with mean nuns or less than fresh food. But hey, if you're willing to compromise or at the very least, lower your standards.
There are lines in the welfare office. It always smells like hopelessness and shame. What do those things smell like? Like arm sweat, root beer and some knock-off Chanel No.5. And I always wonder why the girls come there trying to dress stylishly as if somehow they're better off than the rest of us actually using what little we get to feed our families.
"I'm broke, but I dress cute and I talk on my cell phone loudly so people can think I'm important."
Too many mothers and babies there, but no fathers. Rarely. Sporadically I may see a father. But he has this look like someone's forced him to be there.
Before you walk into that office, you have to get your bag checked and walk through a metal detector.
But I guess it's necessary.
"a hungry mob is a angry mob."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Posted by Alicia Evans at 8:49 AM