I had the pleasure of taking part in a community meal here in London. Those with little are a community within a community out of necessity and survival.
I cut loaves into bread for the meal and to place in bags to be brought home. I also divvied up Jell-O for 180 people. There were four of us serving desserts so I ended up outside talking with some of the guests. I noticed one young woman coming in late. After I went back inside I was witness to three plates of food in her hands. I did not stare but she stood out because there were few others remaining while she ate. I assumed she didn’t like the whole experience and through repetition knew, seconds were only served late. It can be hard to comprehend when a person’s stomach and situation have such an agenda.
I’m not much of a police officer but people were walking out with three buns when they were only given one. Someone had the nerve to ask for a bag for their taking. Someone else was cheeky enough to place a loaf of bread in a backpack while walking away with another in hand. And in a church!
I had to marvel at the absurdity of trying to cut Jell-O into equal pieces with a balanced dollop of whipped cream. These guests are familiar with inequality. Fair for them is something that comes to town once a year delivering rides and candyfloss. Equal to them is a sugar substitute.
One of the gentlemen I spoke with was once a realtor with properties of his own at one point. Another does roofing after a local factory closure. I think not everyone fits our ideas of poverty. I also think we could be as they are. Many were what we are.
It is unfortunate there is not an App for empathy. We live in fear of not having enough all the while choking on more.