Last summer I was lucky enough to be able to take part in an ambitious local volunteer project. Sage Court in Boulder, which has 19 units for people with disabilities, underwent a much needed renovation and residents were temporarily relocated to a nearby hotel. A team of organizers volunteered to help make the packing and unpacking process smoother for the residents.
As I was working to declutter the kitchen and pantry of one resident I’ll call Jane (not her real name), I was struck by the odd assortment of cans and boxes of food, none of which Jane looked excited to pack.
I suggested she start a shopping list so we could plan what she’d need for the hotel, and Jane told me that wouldn’t work because she goes shopping at the food pantry. And so her shelves, with their cans of hearts of palm, pineapple, and jalapeno diced tomatoes, reflected what was available when she went there.
She had a whole stack of peanut butter, which she told me we could toss. “It’s creamy,” Jane, who has mild autism, told me. “I can only like crunchy peanut butter. They never have it, so I get this instead but then I can’t eat it.”
I walked away from that project with a whole new level of respect for the organizing challenges of people dependent on others for their food choices. And a determination to spread the word that Jane, and no doubt many others who rely on the food bank, would love some crunchy peanut butter.
Tomorrow the Post Office will be collecting non-perishable food items for their annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive. You just leave your donations by the mail box and the Post Office delivers them to local food banks.
This year, please consider adding some crunchy peanut butter (maybe even some extra crunchy peanut butter too) for Jane and everyone else who relies on food banks to get food on the table.
Is your pantry overflowing with food you’ll never eat? Contact Joyful Surroundings LLC for compassionate, creative, and totally nonjudgmental decluttering & organizing services.