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Keeping the faith … for others who might be losing theirs

Last night, Friday night. I finished work around 9 p.m., and drove to Publix to grab a sandwich and some coffee for the morning. I picked out my few groceries — cat food, coffee, a sandwich, and got in line to pay.

The man in front of me was all smiles, but the slightly nervous kind. He was simply, but neatly, dressed in flip flops, shorts and a tee shirt. The cashier rang his single item up. He swiped his card. It was denied.

A second try; the cashier reassuring … this happens all the time, she said. A third try; nothing. The man, increasingly embarrassed. The amount was so small. I opened my wallet at the same time the cashier said she’d get it herself. The man protested, no, let’s just forget it, he said.

I said, look I’ve got all this change; let me. The man demurred. But what else could he do? He looked at me, at the cashier, and said, thank you both; and took his bag with the single item in it, and left. The cashier, who had been digging into her own pocket for money, said to me, as she scooped up my money from the counter, “Okay, I’ll let this be your good deed for today.” I said, I’ve been there myself. No money; flat broke; hungry. Don’t we all know what it’s like? No, she said, I’ve never been that down.

I have. I remember going to Wendy’s restaurants in my 20’s and not ordering anything, just bypassing the line, and grabbing the free crackers they used to have at the condiment station. That was dinner. But that was years ago. And truly, I could have easily called my Mom or any friend and had a decent meal. Pride stopped me from asking … but sometimes angels intervened anyway. Now, I can pay for pretty much any food I want, any time I want it. Such luxury.

Anyway, after the man left; I, too, paid for my groceries and left. And felt kind of sick. What was this man’s life? Where would he go after Publix? How long would that single purchase enable him to ward off hunger? Was it for him or for a child at home?

I want something so simple. I want no one to feel real, gnawing, demoralizing hunger. I don’t want a world where a man is humbled by the attempted purchase of a single can of Chef Boyardee. I want us all to have something to eat after a long day.

Will you help?

Image courtesy of All Faiths Thanksgiving donation mailer.

Image courtesy of All Faiths Thanksgiving donation mailer.

Every year, I run a fundraising campaign to benefit All Faiths Food Bank. Since 2006, readers of my print and online columns have donated $8,873.00. Will you help this year? A donation of any amount, even $5, will help; $25 will provide enough food to supply a holiday meal to a family of five; $100 will provide 159 meals; and $500 will supply 794 meals.

All you have to do (if you want to) is make a donation to All Faiths Food Bank in any amount from $5 to $50 or $500 or more if your pocketbook allows. On your donation, if you like, simply write “MC Reality.” The only reason to make the notation is to track how much readers of this blog raise and also to provide a mechanism for entering each donor into a drawing, if they want to be.

Every year, I donate any earnings from any paid print publications during the drive; it’s not much but will at least put a hundred or so into the All Faiths/MC Reality collection. Second, I’ll hold a drawing at the end of the drive offering thank you gifts to three readers who have donated.

You can make a donation online at All Faiths with your credit card and it’s safe and secure (at least they say it is!) — just put the words MC Reality in the “Enter Special Instructions Here” box. Or, you can mail a check to

All Faiths Food Bank
8171 Blaikie Court
Sarasota, Florida 34240-8321
Just be sure to put the words MC Reality on your check.

I’m going to do the fundraising drive starting today and running through the 18th of November (so any online payments must be made by then and any snail mail checks must be received by them by that date as well). Then, on the 19th, I’ll get the numbers from All Faiths; I’ll hold a drawing, and write up a posting so anyone interested can find out the results!

All Faiths usually supplies me with the names of any donors who designate “MC Reality” but of course, they don’t tell me any amounts donated. That’s where I get the names for the drawing. I don’t post winners’ names, but do need a way to contact you if you win; so if you’re interested in participating in the drawing, be sure to include your email address either on your donation or in a separate email to me at mcrealityonline @ so I can let you know if you win.

The thank you gifts include a month-long advertisement on this blog site about your business or organization or book or artwork, or your favorite charity or volunteer group – whatever (but I do reserve the right to not accept some content — i.e., an ad for baby-seal hunting, for example); I average 30,000 hits per month and advertisers on this site have seen very good returns on click-throughs to their sites. Other gifts that drawing winners could choose from would be a) up to five signed copies of my book Sideways in Sarasota; b) emceeing of an event in Sarasota by me; c) a talk or workshop given by me at a venue in the greater Sarasota area. (Gifts b and c subject to my discretion/approval in terms of purpose/group/location/date, etc.)

I know times are tight for nearly all of us right now … if you can participate in this little drive — that would be great; if you can’t donate and need help yourself — just know that we’re all here trying to do our part … keeping the faith … for each other.

Posted on October 17th, 2009Comments RSS Feed

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