Let them eat cake
I’m turning 35 this August. I’ve decided to celebrate by participating in the Great American Bake Sale.
Domino Sugar is launching a campaign to end childhood hunger by raising money through neighborhood bake sales. The slogan is — without any apparent awareness of the historical irony — “Ending childhood hunger can be a piece of cake.”
Regardless of the tone-deaf marketing, I’ve decided to dig in a throw a bake sale to help raise money. I live in a very densely populated area full of parents who are well organized — I figure I can get a handful of women to bake brownies and cookies and help me out manning the table for a few hours. There’s even a local mom’s mailing list so I can reach out really easily.
Of course, I’ve never done anything like this before — ever. I’m usually happy to pitch in and bring stuff, but I’ve never organized anything before. I am just a shade anxious about it. Just a shade. Enough that I want to have a plan on paper before I put out the call for volunteers. I’m thinking maybe I can get my local Starbucks to donate iced coffee or cold milk.
Why am I doing this? Because as summer progresses and gas prices skyrocket — it’s $4/gal around here — there are people making the decision between food and gas. Which sounds easy until you realize that the gas gets the car to the job where you get the money to buy the food and gas…. I really think that education rather than hand outs would help. It’s much easier to eat cheaply than most people thing, it just takes knowledge and forethought. Of course, most people don’t have either of those. But the kids shouldn’t go hungry because their folks skipped home ec.
The idea of a small child going to bed with a growling stomach, going to school feeling cranky from lack of food, of collapsing in front of the TV because she doesn’t have enough energy to do anything else….. Especially in a world where we all have so much….
I read an article the other day about people cashing out life insurance policies, retirement accounts, mortgages, just to get through the month. That scares me, deeply. Talk about lack of foresight. These people are stealing from tomorrow to feed today when all the really have to do is cut back on what they have today. Yes, there are some people economizing, but I’m willing to bet that they folks cashing out their 401k haven’t considered the following options: getting a bike, eating beans instead of meat, cooking from scratch instead of buying pizza, ditching the cell phone, cutting off cable and internet, wearing second-hand clothes, getting movies from the library instead of Blockbuster or NetFlix.
The economy worries me a lot. I feel a little like Marie Antoinette, talking about cake in the face of an epidemic of hunger, but it’s something I can do. I don’t know what to do about the rest of it.