During the pandemic I have been sheltering four teens. Two of them are mine, two of them are close friends of Mouse. I adore all of them and amazingly we have not really gotten on each others nerves, though my house is really small. Under my roof at present, I have two adults, four teens, three dogs, and two hedgehogs. It seems that there is always another load to go in the washing machine and the dish washer is working over time. Mostly, the teens are really respectful and helpful. Boo likes them even though he realizes that he cannot consistently charm them out of candy every five minutes. The only thing vaguely alarming about this set up is the size of my grocery bill. Growing teenagers eat a lot. I try not to stress about food in front of them because I don’t want them to feel guilty about having basic needs. Anyway, all of this was running through my head as Mr. Boo and I were taking our daily walk around the neighborhood. On our return from the walk, I noticed a box and half gallon of milk sitting on our front porch. The tag said it was from St. Paul Public Schools. I brought the box in and unloaded it. Inside was a loaf of bread, a generous portion of turkey, fruits, vegetables, fruit cups and various snacks. It was more than enough food for a weeks worth of lunches. I was stunned, and relieved.
After I fed Mr. Boo a snack I looked on the district website to see if I could figure out why I had just gotten this windfall. Turns out, the district was dropping off food for families who were on free or reduced lunch or who had a child with a disability. A weeks work of food would be dropped off every Friday through out the spring. This meant, that just for the students of Bridge View alone, hundreds of boxes were sent out, all over the metro area. I can only imagine the surprise and delight of the recipients. I sent a thank you note to Teacher Sonia and asked her to pass on my thanks to anyone that she could. She said that she would do that and said if there was anything else my family needed for the teens, please reach out.
This pandemic has showed me the good, the bad, the heartbreaking and the ugly. But, today, like every day, I am going to focus on the good. There are people out there who want to be sure that hungry children get fed. There are neighbors up the street who put a joke of the day out on the walk with sidewalk chalk. Other neighbors hang up solidarity signs and balloons. Musicians come out on the their porches and balconies and serenade the neighborhood. There is less car traffic on our streets and more people walking dogs. There are crocuses coming up, trees beginning to bud and squirrels and bunnies acting flirty. And, in refrigerators across town, there is enough food to feed students lunches for a week. For all these things, I am very grateful.