Flashback Friday – Happy April Food Day

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 4/1/09 at Exit 51.

Happy April Food Day

No, that is not a typo.  I really want to wish everyone a Happy April Food Day.  Because many of us are fortunate enough not to have to be worried about where our next meal will come from.


However, I can still remember days when grocery shopping was an exercise in creativity.  It would usually happen towards the end of the month.  Always the end of the freaking month.  No matter how many generic substitutions we made, it seemed there was never enough money for everything on the list.  And that was shopping at the sketchy grocery store, the one where there were no brand names and all the canned goods were dented.  This manner of trying to make ends meet has resulted in some dishes being permanently banned from my adult life.  Yes, that’s why BBQ Chicken, Tuna Melts, and Tacos are never served at our house.  Even if you ask nicely, the answer will still be no.

For many, the economic turmoil has turned everyday into the end of the freaking month…there’s not enough food or money to go around.  The safety nets that used to act as the main line of support have been overwhelmed by need and number.  Here in Maryland, 54,013 people lost their jobs in 2008.  Our unemployment rate sits at 6.2% according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  And we’re a small state.  What happens when places like California, Texas, and New York post 6%, 7%, or even 10% unemployment?

It may not have been ideal that I got to know exactly why government cheese had a bad name.  But at least we had that block of processed cheese food to complain about.  What do you do when even ghetto Velveeta is a luxury? Like missing the forest for the trees, the irony of going from shopping on food stamps to shopping at Whole Foods or Wegman’s is just now coming into focus.

Easy & Elegant Life and Pigtown Design have dubbed April 1st as April Food Day to raise awareness of the need facing our food banks across the country.  If you are able, even a small donation to either your local food bank or Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest), can have an impact.  For what I spend in one average trip to Wegmans, a food bank can provide 450 meals. For real, that is a Happy Food Day.

Please, contribute if you can.  And spread the word so that others may have a  Happy Food Day as well.

April Food Day 2010

In 2009 Pigtown Design and Easy and Elegant Life teamed up to raise awareness of the challenges faced by food banks across the nation in these challenging economic times.  They called their mission April Food Day.  365 days later, the need is still great.  People are still unemployed, underemployed, and financially overwhelmed.  Food banks are a lifeline for a growing percentage of the population.

It’s been a year since I wrote my post for AFD2009.  In that time, The Mistah and I became intimately acquainted with the recession and unemployment.  We looked for ways to save money.  And honestly, one of the first things to get cut was the food budget.  It was  a challenge.  It was psychologically bruising to go from grocery shopping at Harris Teeter, Safeway, and (sometimes) Wegman’s to food shopping at Target and Walmart.  But when your income is cut by 60%, you do what you have to do.

It’s about survival.  And for some people, grocery shopping at Walmart, or Target, or at the local off brand grocery store is a luxury.  While I know that eating can be luxurious, it should never be considered a luxury.  Here are a few things to chew on:

  • Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children.
  • That means one in eight Americans now rely on Feeding America for food and groceries.
  • Feeding America ‘s nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than they did in 2006.
  • Thirty-six percent of the households served have at least one person working.
  • More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
  • Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters.

If you are able to, I hope you will consider making a donation to Feeding America through the link that has been set up for April Food Day.  Even if you can’t make a donation, I hope you will participate in AFD by spreading the word.