It’s been almost a whole week since this challenge ended for me. I had the best of intentions to post a follow-up entry on this blog before now.
THE BEST OF INTENTIONS!
But it’s been a busy week. Although some would argue that’s no excuse for my lack of follow-up…except that it is.
Also, bite me.
So I came into this challenge with my guns blazing.
But I soon realized that this was going to be much much harder than I anticipated.
I mean, I knew it would be hard but I was grossly unprepared for the constant hunger, the never-ending thoughts about food and the crankiness. Oh the crankiness.
I was pretty unbearable for most of the week. I have since apologized to my partner for any undeserved grouchiness I may have thrown in his direction during the $1.50 challenge.
However, I refuse to feel badly about the deserved grouchiness.
One part that was pretty bad was seeing others with food and not being able to have any. I became resentful of their ability to eat what I could not.
It became almost unbearable when I ventured out to a coffee shop with a friend and could see the food but was unable to buy any. The temptation, and resulting frustration at my inability to “give in”, was enraging.
The biggest things I came away with, after all is said and done, were:
1) Nobody deserves a life like this
What I experienced was only a fraction of what millions of people go through every single day of their lives and I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. It sucks that there are people in the world suffering like this, and I hope the money I raised helps at least some of them.
2) Placing the blame on the people in this situation is NOT the solution. They don’t need judgements – they need a way out.
I’ve heard a lot of people through the years place the blame on the individual. They say things like, “well, they should just go work at McDonald’s then!” and, I admit, I used to think that way.
But I’ve realized as I get older that sometimes no matter how hard you fight to stay afloat, you still end up drowning.
Sometimes, life just gets away from you and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. In those times what people need are a helping hand, a way out…not judgements and blame.
3) There’s not nearly enough solutions designed to help homeless and poverty-stricken people long-term. Most available programs are band-aid solutions (soup kitchens), which are desperately needed and crucial to people’s survival, but they’re not helping in the long run.
I’ve talked about my idea for a community kitchen: a place with fridges, stoves and other kitchen appliances that people living in extreme (or any kind of) poverty could use on a daily basis. They could use these kitchens to store food and bulk items (which are much cheaper to purchase overall).
And people could pool their food together to cook larger meals and share costs, making it easier to survive on $1.50 or less a day.
It could also serve as a way to teach people food industry-related skills and abilities, and give them recipes for affordable meals.
Another idea I had, which is not new by any means, is to have a “catch-all address” program.
Basically, an organization would offer their address to people who don’t have one. What I mean is that a homeless person could use a “fake” address to apply for a job. Then they can pick up all their mail at said address for free (but they wouldn’t actually live there). By doing this, they can avoid the catch-22 of needing an address to get a job, and needing a job to get an address – but still be contacted by potential employers. It would also have a phone so they could get voicemail messages and return calls.
We need to do more to help people around the world, and not just in the short term.
In the end, I raised 87% of my $1,000 goal. That’s $868 to C.A.R.E., who can now provide lots of health services to women in Africa, Asia and Latin America before, during and after pregnancy. If you’d like to continue being involved with CARE, please visit their website for more information: CARE (Canada)
I couldn’t have done this without you guys. You gave me the support and encouragement I needed to make it through the week and for that, I’m eternally grateful. The last few hours (on Friday) were the hardest but those last-minute donations really helped me to hold strong until the clock struck midnight.
By the way, when midnight did roll around last week, I made myself a meal fit for a Queen: rice, tomatoes, a chopped up chicken breast and a pork chop.
I never knew pork chops could taste that good. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
In conclusion, I’d like to continue helping out charities and will be getting more involved with the local soup kitchen and the Fredericton homeless shelter. If you’d like to also get involved, check out their websites.
Of course, I’ll still also stay involved with the Fredericton SPCA.
Again, thank you everyone for your contributions and your belief that I could make it. I was more than happy to do this in your place in order to help out a worthy cause and bring more awareness to a dire situation around the world.