Without a doubt, Seattle has to be one of the most giving cities I’ve ever been in. There are churches and centers where the poor and homeless can eat a hot meal every day. The food pantry I frequent is so stocked with items that they offer you extra. “Go ahead. It’s going to waste anyway,” you’ll hear the volunteers say. Through DSHS I also belong to the Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) Program. In addition to taking care of your rent they also supply you with toiletries. L.A, by contrast, was a lousy place to be homeless. The food was an aberration. The shelters were pits of horror. The social services programs were jokes. It wasn’t so bad in Rhode Island. At least they had the Welcome Arnold shelter for people to stay in. Nashville was okay, but if you wanted help, you had to bend over backwards to religion. In Seattle, you don’t have to pray to anything to get help. They may work under the auspices of the Catholic Church but they don’t force religion down your throat like they do in Nashville. On a darker note, this winter finds me in a state of constant depression. I don’t feel like jumping off a bridge, though. I’m in limbo right now regarding Disability, but other than that, I guess I’ll be okay.
I plan to enjoy a thanksgiving day meal with my fellow food pantry denizens at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church on 85th St. and 24th Ave. in Ballard on Thursday. Or I might get lazy and change my mind. Psychologically, I should go as I tend to isolate too much. The last time I went they were giving out new sleeping bags. I don’t need one now but I sure would love to get me some fixin’s of mac & cheese and green bean casserole. You know, I don’t even know if Our Redeemer’s is doing dinner this year. I’ll check on it tomorrow. Hopefully, they won’t let us down.
Today was a good day. No complaints. This is the first time I’d went to the pantry on a Saturday. The line went fairly quickly. They had a good selection of food, too. The vegetable collection was a little questionable, though. Some of the potatoes were iffy (quite a few had sprouted already), and a large number of tomatoes were squished. They only had one cabbage and one cauliflower left so I took those. I stayed away from the onions because they looked like they fell off the back of the truck and got ran over by passing cars. They did have a can of Gooseberries which I took. I’d never heard of that until now, but being the adventurer, I thought I’d give it a looksee. You can always count on the food bank for having foods I’d never heard of or tried before, like Toro Tomatsuppe mit macaroni. All in all, pretty good shopping.
Now that I have a car, I can visit the pantry every week if possible. I couldn’t visit before because I’d have to walk some pretty good distances with heavy groceries and I don’t have a cart. It was crowded when I got there today. I also noticed they are now open four days a week instead of three. If that’s a harbinger of how our economy has weakened, that’s not a good sign. I’ve belonged to the pantry for about six years. In that time I’ve received food I normally wouldn’t buy, like sandwich wraps from Trader Joe’s or vegetables I’d typically ignore in supermarkets. These would include asparagus, eggplants, artichokes, squash, parsnips and turnips. With all the unfamiliar vegetables I’ve had to look online for recipes. Cooking all of them has been a breeze because boiling seemed to be the preparation of choice. It’s the same thing when I get my hands on Asian vegetables like pak choy, daikon or lotus root. Boiling is the way to go.