Friday, January 23, 2009

$30 bought me 30 Thank You's

I normally drop off supplies (these days, mostly of the edible persuasion) at the homeless teen shelter every week, but the weather has been too bitter and nasty to make that 2.7-mile roundtrip walk. That didn't stop me from accumulating lots of items from their wish list though, so this delivery got packed up in my full-size 25" wheelie suitcase...4 boxes of cereal (Frosted Flakes, Special K, Cap'n Crunch), 2 containers of oatmeal, 20 lbs of chicken legs, 30 eggs, 4 lbs of bacon, 1 lb grated parmesan, 2 boxes of cake mix with matching frosting, and a bagful of free sample-size Head & Shoulders shampoo and Old Spice deodorant that were collecting dust in a closet at my mom's office. Pretty good haul for $30!

In good, that one of the boys who watched me unpack the suitcase of goodies stood in the middle of the room and shouted, "Everyone, everyone, listen up! Instead of going out and getting drunk or getting a little something something on a Friday night, she came all the way down here with a big load of REAL SHIT for us!!! And we all need to thank her, every single one of us."

You know what I think really did it? The bacon. I gave them eggs and bacon, and one of the kids who loves to do the cooking, well, his jaw hit the floor. Some of the others actually looked confused that I'd brought them name brand cereal (that would be the "real shit"). Their pantry shelving just had bags of rice, cans of beans and tomatoes, and a lot of recently-delivered rolls. I wish I'd looked more closely when they opened the fridge, but I did register that there was plenty of room for the chicken, bacon, eggs and cheese....and no milk or fruit. No milk? How were they going to eat the 2.5 boxes of corn flakes they had lined up for tomorrow's breakfast -- dry?

On the way out, an exotic trannie and one of the girls who gets excited whenever I bring socks stopped me. Sock girl wanted me to know how much they really appreciated the donations because "people would rather give to shelters for single men than teenagers from the other side", meaning that many of them were gay. I just said kids are kids, and should never be forgotten...and went on my way with my empty wheelie bag, thinking how much better that $30 was spent than if I'd gone to a bar and had, what, 3 drinks?


Debtfree2009 said...

Great post. I linked back to this in my post today because I think it is a great reminder that we all can do something.

Katha Pollitt said...

Where did you find all that stuff for$30? I'm impressed!
I'm glad they thanked you.

DogAteMyFinances said...

Wow, this is how I feel about Meals on Wheels when I donate pet food. Though, obviously, they don't vocalize it when I drop it off.

Money Funk said...

That is so cool. It's neat to see teenagers actually warm up and give thanks. And to you... its a very cool thing you do. There needs to a world full of people like you.

BTW, I donated to the Baobab House. Thanks for the link (and the inspiration). :-)

Katie said...

Katha - I clip monster stacks of coupons and wait for super sales, sometimes here, sometimes in the burbs (double coupon heaven!) where my mom lives. I can get Kelloggs and General Mills cereals and all that for 25 cents to a dollar a box. I've also "discovered" a supermarket called Western Beef on 62nd & West End that tends to have amazing deals on meat (e.g. bacon 3lbs/$5).

Dog - I'm surprised they don't say something! Housebound people are so attached to their pets, they must love when you think of them. And the pets should have a Pavlovian response to your visits!

DebtFree - thanks for the "promo"!

MoneyFunk - it's such an adventure, I really have no idea what I'm getting into most of the time! And thanks so much for giving to The Baobab Home. I love how the woman who started it lets the scope of her efforts grow to address local needs.