A Thanksgiving story

The homeless shelter I work at is giving out free meals for Thanksgiving.

To qualify for the free meals you have to have phoned in a few weeks previously and put your name on the list. You have to live in the nearby area and be on modest or low income.

The food looked pretty good. Turkeys and all the fixings.

A middle aged black woman came in to get some food. She is just out of recovery and was full of energy and positivity, as people often are in that situation. She was talking with the other people in line and joking around.

When she got to the front she was told by the woman with the list that her name was not on the list. She was furious. She hadn’t realized that you needed to put your name down in advance.

In her anger she turned to me and said “What are you going to do about this?” I am a white man so she had assumed that I was in charge. When I told her I was not in charge she got even more angry.

She said “You know, this isn’t your food? It’s the government’s food, it’s our food.”

She didn’t say that she needed the food, or that she deserved the food, or that she really wanted the food, or that she was really sorry but she hadn’t realized about the paperwork. Instead she said that she was a citizen and she had rights to share in the common wealth of the country.

This fell on deaf ears.

Eventually she left without food.




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