And this week on the Pens we've got a little weekend extra!! Our pal, Bethany is here! Bethany Herron is an almost-Pen, by blood (yes, that Herron). She drives freight trains, raises moolah for disadvantaged youth, counts pennies on the Board of SFA-RWA, and writes urban fantasy from her Edwardian-era flat (it has a pie safe!) in Oakland, California.
Blogging is a very personal thing. Which is a nice way of saying that it has a tendency to become quite selfish.
There are frequent breaks in that tendency, all of which I love: twitter mavens donating their tweet to charity, fundraising campaigns through social media, blog posts that shed light on a social injustice.
Some non-profits are starting to do amazing things on blogging platforms, raising awareness and involving online communities. Which brings me neatly to my #HungerChallenge http://hungerchallenge.blogspot.com! For one week, finishing up today, the SF Food Bank challenged bloggers everywhere to try and live on an average food stamp budget.
That’s $33, for one week. $4.72 a day. Dude, one Zachary’s pizza would wipe you out for the entire week. And that’s not even counting a tip.
I’m not going to focus on the fact that I failed miserably. I’m not even going to go into the why and how; you can check out my personal blog for that, if you’re so inclined. I will share a couple of thoughts that came to me during the process, and hope that it inspires you to show some charity towards your local food bank. And yes, this will still be all about me. It is a blog, after all.
I’m blessed, and I know it. I have an amazing support system, and a billion places to score a freegan meal. I still have an ‘emergency’ credit card, even after cutting all my real cards into little pieces at the beginning of this year.
What happens when those fail? When my sisters can’t afford to feed me, and when all of my emergency cards max out from “but I really needed it” pizza and ice cream? What happens when – not if, but when – I’m looking for some charity?
See, I always think the apocalypse is just around the corner. I’ve been learning how to create debris shelters and make fire, and a tracking course is in my future. But there are smaller, more personal apocalypses. Where your world falls apart, but the one around you keeps going.
I hope I will be prepared and have the strength of will to keep going when that happens, just like the 38 million people on food stamps in the US already do. I could live on $4.72, for sure. But it wouldn’t be easy, it wouldn’t be fun, and it would also be only one small view of a larger life of difficulties.
Plus, no more Hangar One Vodka tonics! Like, ever! Can you imagine the horror? This was a very dry week.
Be charitable, while you can. And appreciate your booze while you still have it.
And if you want more of Bethany, you can read about her adventures here.