Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

we have some business to take care of at home

July 6th, 2008

“It was our own moral failure and not any accident of chance, that while preserving the appearance of the Republic we lost its reality.”

— Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, writer (106-43 BCE)

The kids and I have had a great couple of weeks, swimming, celebrating birthdays, staying up ’til midnight. On Thursday we actually made it to the park to play and have free lunch. Yes, free lunch. Oh, free lunch, how I love thee. “Project Summer: Everybody Eats” has been around for a few years now. Because someone, at some point, noticed that kids who qualify for free and reduced-lunch and breakfast at public school weren’t able to be fed quite as well during the summer, when school is out. So they started serving lunch at the parks and now more kids get fed. This is our government at its finest, in my opinion. (You can also call 1-800-SAFENET for more details.)

Because they don’t know which kids are going to show up, on which days, they give the food away free to all the kids, under age 18, even the babies.

While we were there, we saw a crew patching up the wading pool — the kids haven’t been able to use it all summer because of leaks. Kids eating? Able to splash and giggle in a public wading pool? Really, the simplicity of it all stunned me.

“It took them long enough to fix it,” one of the moms said. Then we had a moment of getting quietly pissed because what is this war costing us? Our roads are a mess. Our schools are a mess. Our rivers and oceans are filthy. The levees aren’t holding. No public works are being done. We have so many artists in this country — painters, gardeners, stonemasons, tile setters — who would love some work. Who would love to help make something beautiful.

We can’t afford water for our gardens, for our parks. We can’t fill up the wading pools.

Wouldn’t it be nice if free breakfast and free dinner were provided, too? Seven days a week, not just five? God, it boggles the mind how much money is spent on shit that is not needed. Bombs, big trucks, big guns, big government contracts, body armor, body bags…

I’m sorry, dear readers, that I’m always being all soapboxy over here. I need someplace to put my rage.

I don’t want babies dying, I want babies being fed. Fed, and cuddled and hugged and loved. I want them to splash in the wading pools under the trees and run around playing hide and seek and yelling, Mom, look at me! I can do it now! as they’re crossing, hand over hand, on the monkey bars. Can you see that? Instead of being in a country hurting people, we could be sending them food, building playgrounds, planting trees. All the little kids, and big ones, too, deserve that. It is never okay to put your own self-interest first, before the common good.

I was at the park last summer (summer before? who knows, they all blend in together), the kids were splashing in the wading pool (a different wading pool — this one had already been patched), I was sitting on a blanket with a couple of friends. The kids were eating free lunch. One mom says, “Look at all the meat on this sandwich. That’s like an entire packet of lunch meat! That is such a waste.” And I tried to tell her, The government is “technically” only feeding the kids — but they load up the lunches — a sandwich with meat and cheese (veggie available on request), vegetables and dip, fruit, a cooky, a carton of milk. They load them up so the moms and aunts and dads and grandpas or whoever else is hungry can share.

(We’re not technically supposed to share, but we share.)

Ah, this mom. She’s never gone hungry, I don’t think. I’ve had hungry weeks, months, years. But I’ve been fortunate enough to never dip below the poverty line, other than a handful of times. She didn’t stop to hear what I was saying, that it’s a good thing when there’s enough to go around.

That it’s a beautiful thing when our tax dollars are going to food and not bombs. Ah, well. She doesn’t “get” poor, but she might get it, eventually. To understand what it’s like to have a gnawing in your stomach. To feel worthless and ashamed. To feel sneaky, sliding a slice of lunch meat away from your kid’s lunch. I was hoping no one overheard her.

And something else… Did you know we’re still at war? That the United States of America is still bombing Iraq? Are you remembering that, every day? What can we do to stop this war? Do they get the e-mails? Do they see the protests? Will it end (please God) with a new president? Will it end (please God) before then? I do not know. I do not know what to do to help, other than writing about it and talking with others. E’ing the congressmen and Guys in Charge. If any of you are reading this:

It is not too late to end this war. Please do.

It is important to tell your children, your neighbors, your friends, “We are still at war,” whatever your feelings may be. So we don’t forget. Are we forgetting that people are dying? I want this war to end. Bread Not Bombs.

I have gone from lean and hungry to overfed and fat. Now my problem is too much food. We are lucky to have enough, to buy the groceries, to get the bills (mostly) paid, to afford gas (we’ve cut way back on the driving). We share the love, share the wealth, all that.

I love Project Summer. Kids get fed.


  1. Lelo says

    “I’m sorry, dear readers, that I’m always being all soapboxy over here.”

    Please don’t ever feel you need to apologize for speaking up and speaking out and sharing: I love it when you do. Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re still in a fricking war and that we can’t be complacent about it. You go, girl!

    July 7th, 2008 | #

  2. The Other Laura says

    I am right there with you! We have to keep shouting until someone hears us.

    July 7th, 2008 | #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.