I have been tempted to sink my teeth into an apple or sneak a piece of my Christmas stash of Fairtrade chocolate or nibble a piece of cheese but I’ve stuck with the porridge, rice and veg rations. I’m feeling smug that we made tinned tomatoes last for five meals, and we have half a tin of tuna and some homemade bread squirrelled away for tomorrow’s gourmet supper. We haven’t thrown any food away yet.
I have no complaints. We are hale and hearty, but we’re missing our comfort foods and caffeine. One Facebook message shared that we could get 4 Bounty bars for a pound at a well-know store. More temptation!
Our grandson came today, and asked for his favourite boiled egg, chopped up with bread and butter and served in his favourite cup. I budgeted for a tiny scraping of butter. I saved some carrot from the stew pack so he had something to munch on, and he scoffed a plate of tinned beans and sausage. But then he asked for a little raspberry sorbet from the freezer and my resistance gave way to the charming manners and appeal of a three year old looking for a treat. So we were in debt by 11p.
I’m relieved that we found lunch for our grandson. I also made his mum a small tuna sandwich and a much need cuppa while she was feeding her newborn. She was reluctant to have any food, not wanting to use up supplies: our family’s reaction has moved from: “You’re doing what? Why?” to concern for our wellbeing and a real appreciation of CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign.
My sister gave us supper in return for sharing our Sunday breakfast and lunch with her, which is our usual routine. We’re also starting to use her as an alternative shop: she costed out making bread and a simple vegetable bake, with 25p worth of diced bacon. We bought 35p worth of her fresh bread for today and a small portion of her veg bake for tomorrow, at 70p.
This evening we called in to our local store with only a pound, looking for bargains. We were asked to do a customer survey, and the first question was: “what are you intending to buy?” I explained our situation and the researcher kindly took it upon herself to help us look for discounted bread. There was none on the usual little discount trolley, so she hurried us to the front of the store, where she’d seen some only minutes earlier. She asked an assistant where the bread was. Gone, was the reply. She asked if it could be brought back, but sadly, it had already gone in the bin. The researcher showed great concern for us even though she knew it was a challenge and we weren’t going to suffer. We were complete strangers but she really cared.
Today, the CAFOD Lenten calendar for primary school children, invites children to: “Be kind in the playground today – ask somebody to play with you if they look lonely”.
That set me thinking about people who are hungry. Would they look hungry? Would we ask someone to share a meal, if we thought they looked hungry?
We nursed our newest grandson for an hour today. I tried to console him for a few minutes, when he was yelling for a feed. He didn’t hold back at all. I tried to imagine a parent, arms around their hungry infant, with little or no food to give them today or tomorrow or the next.
This is what it must be like for people on the breadline. An intermittent cash in hand wage would not enable you to plan for tomorrow, certainly not to sustain a family. That’s unjust and things have to change. How can we show we care for our global family close to home and round the world? There is enough food in the world but how do we make it reach the 870 million children and adults who go to bed hungry?
CAFOD’s Lent stories bring women like Dorcas, Rose and Emily from Kenya into my home. Listening to their struggles and triumphs, farming and working to sustain their families and neighbours, challenges me to put my faith in action.
Their stories are lived out in all the countries where CAFOD works to tackle poverty and injustice. Each individual counts, every person living in poverty has a right not to live in poverty. Similarly, each of our individual voices count when calling on the Prime Minister and world leaders to check the power of global food companies that control food supplies, putting excess profit before food for everyone.
The 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human of Rights, states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of self and family, including food.”
CAFOD prompts me to play my small part in that and reflect on my own attitude to food. Rights on paper don’t feed the hungry. We need to put them into action. We all have to play a part in making sure the right to food is made a reality.