First of all, TACKY PACK™! It’s been a while, so I’m giving away a TACKY PACK™!! Let’s talk about something else for a minute, first.
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I was twelve, the same age my own son is now. That would have made my mother thirty-four.
I was across the hall in my bedroom when I heard a cry. The tiny half-bath off my mother’s bedroom backed up against the wall of my room and that was where the sound of distress had come from. I quickly abandoned what I was doing and shot across the hall into Mom’s room, calling to her.
“Mom? Momma? Are you okay?” She rounded the doorway, palm outstretched, crying hard, so hard, her face a contorted thing I’d never seen before. I had rarely seen her cry before then; I had never seen her upset in this fashion. Disappointment and rage and despair collided in her face and I asked, ”What’s wrong?” in alarm.
She pulled her lips back in an illustrative grimace. I hadn’t noticed that in her outstretched palm lie large chunks of teeth….two, to be exact. “What happened?” Most of a front tooth and one incisor were broken off sharply. I had never seen anyone’s teeth in such a state before.
“I was brushing my teeth,” she began falling apart in earnest then,”I was just brushing them and they broke.” Anger and anguish and now her fist was clenched around them and I remember thinking that she looked so pretty in that blouse, the one with the wide white bow at the neck. And then I took note of her arms. I hadn’t noticed until then how thin they’d grown.
We had no money and she was working nineteen-hour days and giving all of what precious little food there was in the house to us girls.
Beautiful Gwendolyn, thirty-four years of age, woke up one morning after four or five hours of sleep to get ready for work and her teeth broke off because she was malnourished.
We lived in a middle-class neighborhood in a town where most everyone was comfortable financially, smack dab in the middle of America. My sister and I were hungry every day. My mother was literally starving. Had it not been for the one square, hot meal that we got each day at school through a rural subsidy program, my sister and I would have been as well.
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The other day I was on Twitter, and I happened to catch a few tweets that Megan was throwing out there. She’d run across some information on Feeding America in Real Simple magazine (yay! one of my personal favorites) and was blown away by some of the numbers. She was tweeting in earnest on behalf of Feeding America, and there was real spirit in what she was saying, so I sent her a message privately.
See, I’ve worked with hunger-related causes for a while; in fact, I supported Feeding America back when they were still known as Second Harvest. I remember the bite of hunger. I don’t want a kid –my kid, your kid, ANY kid– to feel the way I felt, to have to ration a half-loaf of bread over the span of a week, to worry if there will be more bread once that bit of it is gone.
Now that I’m a mother, I am horrified by the choices my mother had to make and the toll that they took on her emotional and physical health. I know that I would likely make those same choices: “My kids get what we have. If there is provision for me after, fine.” NO parent should have to make those choices, most especially not in this country, where there is such wealth and privilege and abundance, where we have the luxury of so much food that it goes to waste in a myriad of ways.
And so, back to Megan, who was just so lit completely up at the fact that one American dollar can buy eight American meals for a family. Or one meal for eight families. You get the picture. Then Megan got excited, thinking about possibilities:
…and then we put our noggins together and decided that we would like to partner up and donate five dollars each. So each of us did. Then we decided we’d challenge you, our readers and followers, to step up and match us from Thanksgiving Day, when we are all so festive and full, through this Sunday: Take an eensy five of your dollars and make provision for FORTY meals across the U.S. alongside the two of us.
THEN! Then, because we are excitable, bribey things, we decided that if you were to do something so great as to make provision for forty meals across the U.S. with your five dollars, then we would each host a giveaway on our sites where you could tell us you gave up your five or fifty or five-hundred of dollars and we would give you a chance at prizes. Hell, we’ve even asked a few of our nears and dears to do the same. In short: IT IS THANKSGIVING WEEKEND AND THERE ARE PRIZES. Just pretend the Universe is rewarding you for not smarting up that one know-it-all Uncle for once in your impatient life.
Cue the trumpets, because here is where I tell you that each five dollar donation you make to Feeding America today through Sunday makes you eligible for a drawing. “The prize, Our Most Esteemed and Beloved Jett, what might it be?” you ask. Well. Please roll some drums and blat some airhorns, because I know what a fondness all of you oldskoo Muffinasses have for that holy grail of Cyberia, the TACKY PACK™. If you are somewhat newskoo and don’t know what the heydiddlydoodah a TACKY PACK™ is, then I will quote myownself from an eensy giveaway of one or two I did last year:
The TACKY PACK™ is essentially a melange of great goodness and übercool radness. I don’t have to suck any corporate dick to bring it to you, and there is no ulterior motive save for the fact that I’m getting my jollies by giving a (many-partsed, multi-faceted) gift to somebody. There used to be a page devoted to telling you how great the TACKY PACK™ is in all its random iterations, but it’s long gone. You’re just gonna have to take my word for it and know that present-giving is one of my strengths. I think it’s the one meant to balance my propensity toward addictive behaviors, but I can’t say that with complete surety.
The retail value isn’t really any of your business, but I’ll tell it to you anyway, just so you know that I’m not a cheapskatey so-and-so: Low end it usually runs fifty bucks. High end it usually runs about a hundred. There might be any number of limited edition somethings, alcohol somethings, odd food somethings, stupidly cool somethings stuffed into a supafly apparatus of Holding Awesome Shit In A Cohesive Bundle (this one will have a robot on it, because robots are very Thanksgiving-y). I quit sending pharmaceuticals in 2002, so don’t even ask, you big silly.
File this under Things I Shouldn’t Have To Say But Am Going To Anyway: Now, don’t be all cheaty and go using one donation on more than one site. Each five dollars earns a name in the hat, okay? We’re going to take you at your word: Make your donation to Feeding America, drop me a comment telling me how many entries I owe you, and I’ll announce a winner next Wednesday, 30 November. My own personal caveat is that I cannot ship outside of the U.S. I’m sorry, guys, it’s just too cost-prohibitive for me just now.
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In closing, here are the ways you can help, if you’re so inclined:
+ If you want to also blog about Feeding America and how people can donate, awesome.
+ If you want to do a giveaway on your blog to encourage people to donate, rad. Megan has a widget on her own giveaway post so that you can join our links list and help people find your post.
+ If you want to follow along on Teh Twitters, #giveameal is @FeedingAmerica’s hashtag, and the one we plan to use. If you’re inclined to tweet about what we’re doing (or retweet our Twitter content through Sunday), we would appreciate it.
* If you want to donate and enter our giveaways, by all means do so. More! Merrier!
* If you know of others who might want to also participate on their own blogs, please pass this on.
I’m gonna be around on Twitter today (my whole-fambly festivities are tomorrow!) dropping some links to other posts, some facts on hunger, and trying to raise some awareness on behalf of Feeding America. Megan will be doing the same. When you get sick of your extended family, drop in and give a shout. We both have ridiculously low inhibitions and lots of wine. Holla!
!UPDATE!: I just found out that all donations made today, Thanksgiving Day, will be matched dollar for dang dollar. GO TEAM!