Fellow Traveler and I went grocery shopping last night.
It wasn't for us. It was for the Children Raised By Wolves and their family. The magnitude of their situation has made us feel pretty helpless. We've given them what we think are good suggestions for getting help, which have so far been ignored or dismissed; we've run out of ideas, and they're running out of time to stay where they're living.
But yesterday, while driving past the local supermarket, I saw the store's Buy One Get One Sale sign, and I thought of maybe getting the family some BOGO deals just to tide them over before they deal with their next household crisis. Shortly afterward I got a call from FT: "What do you think about going shopping tonight and buying some groceries for _______ and ________?"
So that's what we did. We pooled our funds and bought a grocery cart heaping full of food for them: meat, milk, potatoes, pasta and sauce, taco fixings, fresh fruit and juice, breakfast cereal, bread, peanut butter and jam, some snacks for the children. We called them up and said, "Have the kids put their coats on, because they'll need to help you carry some food inside your house."
Later that evening we stood in the muddy mess of their driveway, handing bags of food to the excited children. The mom and dad -- who sometimes don't give us a lot of indication that we're helping them in ways they appreciate -- were smiling. "Thank you!" the mom kept saying. "Thank you!"
It wasn't a Big Give; it wasn't the kind of giving that hurt, frankly. And it didn't solve anything. But it seemed like the next right thing to do.