Even after a month, I still find myself thinking a lot about the SNAP Hunger Challenge.
It comes to mind when I make time to cook and plan meals, when I write food stories for the newspaper and when I blog.
But beneath the excitement of sharing a tasty, useful recipe or writing about someone who has a unique take on food, I sometimes forget that eating addresses a basic need.
I was reminded yesterday, when the red refrigerator (the one I spent so much energy on) quit cooling. At that moment, it didn't matter what color the fridge was, or how it looked in my kitchen. It wasn't working.
It was a stressful morning. I spent a chunk of time calling about warranty information and trying to track down a repair company that could come that day. I had to throw away some food, and schlepped what I could save to a family member's refrigerator nearby.
I think part of my reaction was pure instinct – as a human, I need food to survive. Without a fridge, satisfying that need is tough.
A repair person is supposed to come this morning, and I'm hoping it can be fixed.
Because it's so new, the fridge is covered under the manufacturer's warranty. I also bought the extended warranty, which will cover the cost of the food I lost. My freezer was stocked, so I'm guessing this will come close to actually paying for the warranty I bought. Important lesson there, to be sure.
But I can't help but think about the people who can't afford a brand new fridge, or couldn't justify the extra expense of a warranty.
I remember, during the SNAP Hunger Challenge, wondering how people who can't pay their utility bills eat, or at least avoid fast or convenience food.
Ultimately, my fridge problem was a small hiccup in my week. As long as it can be fixed, it won't cost me anything but a little stress and worry, as well as some wasted food. (If it can't be fixed, I guess I'm going to have to settle for a white refrigerator.)
But it's an important reminder to be grateful for what I have, and to support organizations like the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, who assist those who aren't so lucky.