Yesterday, early in the morning, I went to a local grocery store to pick up bread and baked goods that were at or just beyond their pull date. I went early, because at some point in the morning, that bread goes into the dumpster. If we can get there to claim it before they dump it, we can have it. By we, I mean my church.
The woman at the bakery showed me the grocery cart of baked goods and said, "That's all we have today--sorry." I thanked her and wondered what the usual bakery load would be. What she gave me was enough to fill up the trunk of my car. When I've done the bread run before, we sometimes have enough to fill up the trunk and the back seat.
I took the bread and baked goods to my church and filled up the freezer. We'll take some of it to our Wednesday monthly dinner at First Lutheran, and we'll give away most of it at our food pantry.
As I looked at my trunk of bread, I thought about the story of the loaves and fishes and the miracles of multiplication. Part of me is so grateful for this donated bread--it means we have more money for other parts of the meal and the food pantry. Part of me is horrified at the waste, or the potential waste: all this perfectly good bread was destined for the dumpster. So much of the world goes hungry while we dump tons of food on a daily basis.
I'm not describing anything new--we've seen this dynamic at work for decades, if not centuries. I don't know how to solve it. But I am delighted to be a Robin Hood of sorts, a one-woman redistribution force, saving bread and giving it to the poor. Once again, I had that Holy Spirit nudge, as I thought, I could spend my whole life doing this.