My neighborhood is a poor one. No matter what your station in life, it never hurts to kiss up to the cook.
Food pantries distribute donated food to anyone who wants it; you don't need to show an ID or give your name. The people who volunteer their time there are among the finest folks you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting.
The food is toxic. Real food is displayed for sale until it starts to turn and then is thrown away and written off for tax purposes.
The available at a food pantry items are processed products nearing expiration date. They are mostly chemicals engineered to resemble baked goods. Produce is scarce. The proteins are hallucinations of nutrition; extruded paste formed into canned or frozen servings containing less than 50% meat.
The prepared food is more appealing, but nourishes the soul more then the body. When I couldn't navigate the serving line on my cane, Keith's staff of volunteers served me as if I were a paying customer. I can not overstate the significance of this dignifying gesture.
I couldn't get well on a glycemic diet of pastry and pasta. I needed to apply for food stamps, like one of those people. This was a nightmare.
The Massachusetts Department of Transitional assistance (DTA) is a huge stinking mess. I got off the elevator to a sea of people. The line was the length of a city block and twice as wide. Ragged, drunk and crazy people from every continent in an un-airconditioned lobby with water from over-flowing toilets seeping across the carpet. I witnessed violence that afternoon: child abuse, elder abuse and spousal abuse. Waiting.
After a few hours of moving slowly down the hallway. I realized it was set up like a deli. You had to go to the front of the line to get a number on a ticket, then go back to the end of the line and wait to be called. I was in the line, but had no ticket to speak with a DTA receptionist. I had squandered my visit there.
At that time, I was only out of bed for several hours a day, and needed to leave and go home.
I knew the lay of the land now and would return the next day with a book and a snack.