Greetings from Arkansas! It’s starting to get more chilly so things aren’t really growing anymore, though we do have a lifetime supply of cabbage from our fall garden. The animals have been bulking up for the winter and have nice thick coats to keep them warm. The sheep are recovering from being wethered earlier this week. We have been trying to get the bunnies to be more friendly by petting them everyday… they still seem a little anxious, but we are making progress.
Chris and I spent Thanksgiving here in Little Rock and one of the Second Pres families was kind enough to adopt us for the day. (Thank you Huismans/Scotts!) We ate well, joined in on a Turkey Trot, and got to see Fantastic Beasts! The holidays are just around the corner and of course that means lots of food. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas there always seems to be plenty of leftovers. Thanksgiving leftovers are quite delicious and often get turned into soup or sandwiches for the next couple of weeks.
This week I also reflected on other kinds of leftovers. At the Disaster Assistance Center the main thing we do is inspect kits. We get groups (often churches) from all over the country that send us assembled kits and then volunteers come to Ferncliff to inspect each kit and make sure it has the right items and quantities. Many of the kits are assembled perfectly, some need to be slightly tweaked, but a few kits make me cringe. Some kits contain used hand towels, old yellowed toothbrushes, or the little bars of soap you get at hotels… essentially leftovers. I can imagine someone cleaning out their closet and donating things, hoping that someone else can put them to good use. Though I believe their heart is probably in the right place, it is pretty demeaning to be given someone else’s junk. This is a problem not only with disaster relief efforts, but also with food pantries and clothing drives. If it’s torn or stained or expired, just throw it away, don’t make it someone else’s problem! I’ve heard the argument that people should be grateful for whatever is donated regardless of the state that it is in. However if you’re donating something that should be in the trash, essentially you’re saying that the people we serve only deserve your leftovers. These are fellow humans that deserve the dignity of quality items.Consider how you would feel if you received whatever item you’re about to donate. If you have any qualms about that item, then it probably belongs in the trash. We really appreciate donations and love volunteers, but please be mindful with your donations this holiday season.