SWPL #101

My kids were supposed to have a dance last Friday night. It was cancelled because the teacher that usually sponsers it was ill. No other teacher could do it? Whatever.

Disappointed, my daughter asked to attend the “30 Hour Famine,” hosted by the nearby Methodist church.

What, pray tell, is a “30 Hour Famine?”

Well, the participants don’t eat for, uh, 30 hours.

They sleep outside in cardboard boxes.

All to gain insight into the issues of world hunger and homelessness.

Maybe “needless suffering” should be added to the list of “stuff white people like.”

Because, really, who thinks this is a good idea? (Other than the church down the road from my house? and middle class white people? Oh, yah, one and the same. One and the same.)

They started not-eating at noon Friday and went to the church after school. Reagan was instructed to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and toiletries. (Because most homeless people have sleeping bags, toothpaste and hairbrushes!). Friday evening she called and asked “Can you bring me and A. two large cardboard boxes?”

“Yes, Reagan, we have two people-sized cardboard boxes just lying around the house and they are so unobtrusive you’ve not noticed them.”

Duh.

She made it through the night in the box.

The next morning they served breakfast and lunch at a shelter – the most worthwhile part of the experiment (in my mind) but also the most tortuous. Handing out donuts and sandwiches while one’s stomach rumbles? Good idea.

After working at the shelter the church took the kids to collect food for a food pantry. Also worthwhile, also difficult in the circumstances. They went door to door, carrying tissue thin plastic bags of canned goods.

We had plans Saturday night so Reagan came home early. Came home early, and ate early, twenty-eight hours into the famine; which was more than long enough for her to gain empathy for those that go hungry.

“Those that go hungry.” Due to chance, due to birth, due to life circumstances. Not because they choose to, not because it’s an interesting social experiment.

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7 Responses to “SWPL #101”

  1. mortonmalaise Says:

    Actually, a lot of the more mentally stable members of the homeless community do carry a full set of toiletries with them, including toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. It’s much easier to shower in gas station bathrooms when you have your own supplies.

  2. jenjw4 Says:

    MM,
    I’ll put that under the heading “you learn something every day!” Thanks,
    Jennifer

  3. mortonmalaise Says:

    You’re welcome, as long as you’re not saying that in a patronizing tone. 🙂

  4. jenjw4 Says:

    MM,
    No, as smug as I sound about the “white middle class” I must admit I’m a member and have a distinct middle class worldview that, while I think I’m open minded about things, I’m also awfully ignorant about the lives of others.
    Jennifer

  5. Ms. PH Says:

    Actually, we did this in college. The student body agreed to donate the cost of our meals in the cafeteria for 24 hours and sleep outside in a box for one night.

    I think we cheated, though, because I seem to remember a whole lot of Jack Daniels by our campsite.

  6. mortonmalaise Says:

    The homeless can’t afford Jack Daniels, silly. They stick to Ol’ Uncle E-Dub, Evan Williams.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    Ms. PH,
    Yes, kinda cheating, maybe, but Rea’s group was allowed Juice, and what is juice but wanna be alcohol?
    J

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