It's a good question, and one that's relevant no matter what country you live. We have a global economy, and what happens in the U.S affects us here in Canada. What happens to Japan's economy will affect Canada. So, as much as I hate the news, I do try and keep one ear on it; if only to find out in which direction the world is falling into the crapper.
But this question started a lot of conversation. We talked about global weather patterns, imports and exports, who grows what, and the loss of industry. I've talked here before about the loss of Canada's textile industry and how much wheat we export while the price of our bread goes up. I've also talked before about how the weather impacts the price of our groceries. We've all seen it, so the economy collapsing isn't that far "out there".
Many talked about squirreling money away at home, cashing in whatever savings bonds they had, buying silver coin, cutting up credit cards or in some cases, getting credit cards. Some folks talked about the underground economy, and that saw a lot of interest. I've talked about it here before, and it's something that I see a lot of. Folks that are no longer reporting that they're looking for work, they've found a way to "work under the table" and yet still support their family. On one hand, I see the sense in that. What's the point in handing over gobs of money to the government for your retirement if by the time we're retirement age, there's nothing left? On the other hand, if you ever find yourself in a position that the government money is keeping your kids from hunger, and you haven't been paying into it... so it's a double edged sword I think. I know some folks that would advocate putting enough money aside that if you were laid off for a year, you could still live comfortably. But I also know how many of us live from check to check, and it's not possible to put money aside in that case. So for many of us, it's a delicate dance.
I suggest buying an extra box of cereal, or an extra can of tuna or two, perhaps an extra can of frozen juice or maybe an extra package of chicken quarters if you can. Add your extra to your grocery list. Yes, it's more fun to use that extra $8 to treat yourself to lunch, but if you use that extra $8 to buy a big jar of peanut butter instead, it might make the difference between your kids skipping lunch or eating one day. Yes, I personally know people that have been in the position of not eating their own lunch so their kids can eat. It happens more than you think. I'm a big fan of being more self-reliant though, and if you've been reading this blog for more than a month I'm sure you know that. I think it's important to support our financially challenged, empower them to have access to better quality food, teach them what they need to know to make their lives better and allow them to take control and have some pride back.
It's all about control and independence.
Those that can help, however, should. If you can spare a can of tuna, or peanut butter for a food bank, no matter what the season, consider sharing it. So many families, on both sides of the border, live with malnutrition simply because they don't have access to the kind of food they need. Yes, a can of soup can make a big difference.
I volunteered at a food bank many years ago, and it used to drive me crazy how many out of date cans of soup there were. The food bank had to throw these out because they weren't allowed to pass them on. But, I also saw folks that had gardens bring in bins full of vegetables and fruit. It gave me hope, and the inspiration to do the same when I could.
So I encourage all of you this week to do something positive, for both yourselves, and for your neighbors.
Go out to lunch less, put some food aside for a wintery or $ crunched day. Share what food you do have with those who don't have enough themselves.
You'll be glad you did.