If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~Mother Teresa
Note: My recent post “Want-Need-Wear-Read” left me feeling the need to finish this post originally started as “The Pantry.” Enjoy.
My toe dipped into the world of Minimalism in January 2011 when I was drawn to the book Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer. I had stumbled across the book at our neighborhood library. The bright red jacket color and the bold white font “Clutter Busting” caught my eye: it looked intriguing and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
It didn’t take me long to read the book. I loved Palmer’s quick wit and practical ideas as he shared his stories about the challenges his clients faced with their own clutter. Palmer shared the idea of how having an excess of “stuff” bogs us down and impacts emotional well-being.
A few months after reading Clutter Busting, I went into the pantry to get ingredients for chocolate chip cookies when suddenly, the question “What have I bought that I’m not using?” popped into my mind. I looked around the pantry: it was an arsenal of non-perishable food.
I started taking things off the shelves. There were multiple cans of corn, soup, tuna, and chili as well as half a dozen boxes of cake mix and three jars of peanut butter. I took everything down and placed them in bags for Second Harvest Food Bank.
This “stockpile” mentality had been etched into my brain from an early age. Growing up, Thursday was my Mom’s weekly grocery shopping day, the day she shopped and purchased enough food to fill the refrigerator, the pantry and a large upright freezer in the garage with everything from meat and fruit to vegetables, soup, and ice cream. Our home was well prepared for an army of teenagers or a few extra guests at the dinner table. A shortage of food was never an issue. When I left home and got married, I too kept a full pantry, eventually becoming immune to what was on the shelves.
After making that donation to Second Harvest, I felt lighter and my heart was full. A few months later, I hosted a team building event with my sales team, volunteering to sort food at Second Harvest Food Bank. The experience was so rewarding and fulfilling, that we made it a regular event for several years.
Nowadays, I buy only what we need, and stockpiling is a thing of the past, but that does not diminish the importance of feeding others. Whether it’s the Boy Scouts annual “Scouting for Food” event, the USPS “Stamp out Hunger” pick up every May, or just baking cookies for friends and families, feeding others feeds the heart and soul of both the giver and the receiver. I hope my boys see, learn, and do the same when they are out and on their own.