In response to my Live Below The Line posts I got a series of email from Anna Foat about her own experiences which range from range from working on charity boards to choosing cigs and coffee over food. The point Anna really drives through is the serious disconnect between the Haves and the Have Nots.
With permission, I’m sharing her comments below. Thank you, Anna, for your candour and openness.
It occurred to me to share with you the dimension of the challenge and the participants who are very skilled and knowledgeable on good, nutrition and not the least if which cooking.
I served on a charity board and worked with people on creating things like resumes but then we realized one of the biggest challenges was access to good and inexpensive food. (Many smaller cities and towns have no inexpensive options, those are all out in the suburbs.) And then the skills to cook good food.
I did cooking classes on things like how to make a good and inexpensive pasta sauce. Very basic. Not gourmet. But no one in many cases had ever shown them how to cook anything from scratch.
Our residents often had never lived anywhere with an oven and stove – only a hotplate. One kept setting the fire alarm off and I had to explain what the hood it was and why you’d turn it on, once we had determined there was a correlation between cooking bacon and the fire alarm 🙂 She was mortified but confessed she didn’t know what it was and she didn’t want to touch it.
I know it’s part of a wider conversation but it’s especially important for the working poor in Canada. I’m loving all the creative ways to make fabulous out of 1.75 but there has to be a better way to help people eat well on little.
I know many people on Charity boards (and I suspect many people generally) look down their noses at “poor people” grocery shopping at corner stores and eating shit fast food but the reality is often that it’s incredibly hard for them to do anything else.
I will get off my soapbox. But I know you get it and I think the piece people don’t get is the day-to-day and the reality of the disconnect between people who need help and those willing to provide it.
Anna’s experiences echo my own, so I’m honoured she would let me share this private correspondence with you.
I feel strongly about this disconnect and have been heard saying “it’s not them and us, it’s just us. Only us. Now can you help us?”
If you have thoughts on this and I know many of you do, I would love to hear them and share them publicly. Please add them to the discussion in the comments below.
Thanks to Anna Foat for being so open and sharing her experiences! Anna’s comment has been shared from our email exchange with her permission so that her thoughts and experiences could be highlighted in a public forum.
Note: this post is part of my Live Below The Line series where I will be on a $1.75 food & drink budget from April 29th-May 3rd.
This is a game for me but a serious reality for 1.4 billion people in our world today. Help support me by donating, or supporting Second Harvest and Daily Bread Food Bank.
If you want to know more about what I’m involved in, you can read my disclosure statement here.