Posted by Deirdre Mundy, guest blogger
Imagine that you woke up one morning, and your family had nothing. No shelter, no possessions, no food, and no way to earn income. You’d have to depend on the kindness of strangers to feed, clothe, and bathe your children. Would you be able to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle if you had to live off donations?
Many Americans spend days, years, or even lifetimes in the situation I just described. They must rely on donated goods for all their needs. Yet natural products are in short supply at many food pantries and shelters.
Eat Right, Feel Right
Next time your children’s school hosts a food drive, take a careful look at the donations. Would you feel your best if you were eating artificial macaroni and cheese, salty canned meats and vegetables, and serving after serving of refined grains? People trapped in poverty face many challenges, and unwholesome diets can sap their resilience and leave the neediest Americans feeling tired, bloated, and too unhealthy to function.
The next time you donate to a food drive, donate the sort of things that you would feed to your own children. Sure, fresh produce is out, but you can still give whole-grain pasta, organic cereals and prepared foods, and wholesome canned juices and drinks. You may not change someone’s life, but you can give a needy family a really good meal. It’s a small step that could improve someone’s day, or their chances on a future job interview.
Have you ever changed your deodorant or perfume only to have people remark on the difference? How we smell affects how other people perceive us. Pleasant-smelling shampoos, lotions and soaps can also change how we see ourselves. If you’re living a comfortable life, you probably enjoy picking a lotion or soap by the scent and texture.
For Americans living in shelters, toiletries are a luxury. Many shelters purchase soap and shampoo in bulk and can only afford harsh artificial concoctions that destroy the natural oils in the hair and skin. Imagine how it would feel to have absolutely no choice about what you used on your body. Instead, you’d have to feel grateful that you got the chance to shower at all.
During the next holiday season, make gift baskets with your favorite natural products: soaps, lotions, and shampoos. Deliver them to your local shelters. You may give someone a new look, a new scent, and a chance at a new future.
Photo source: Flickr; Billy Brown (CCSTP)