28 November 2012

Free food everywhere I go

A friend of mine (Derek B) once accused me of being able to find free food wherever I went. At that time, I thought he was taking things way out of proportion. However, after being in Chicago for 4 days, I'd managed to find free food twice. So perhaps he had a point (the fact that I'm now once again picking up an entire garbage-bag worth of free bread every week only confirms his suspicions).

Ironically enough, none of the food in Chicago (besides a coffee I could have picked up at the women's lounge) was at the SBL conference. It wasn't until Sunday evening that I discovered how many receptions are held at the conference - and how easy/normal it was to crash/attend them - oh! My cheap dutch self bemoans missing out on some free food there!

So where did I find all the free food? At churches. The first was at a church downtown where there were leftovers from a Lutheran women's group that had met that day. There was tons of fruit, which was great for tiding me over until my late dinner. And the second was Thanksgiving dinner provided for and served by members and donors of the church.

As I'm currently not in a financial situation where I could ever claim that I need free food, it set me to thinking about the why and how of receiving food. This time, money had little to do with it. First, it would be a shame to let the leftovers go to waste, especially when we were all hungry. And, secondly, it would have been an insult for me not to accept the hospitality of the church's Thanksgiving meal (and it was good!). It helps me continue to ponder how food is a gift - both what I receive/take and what I can give.

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