Treats for the poor

If you’re not living in dire poverty, you probably found yourself having recourse to little treats throughout this pandemic, to cheer yourself and your family up. Maybe you splurged on a tasty but extravagant snack or dessert, or something to brighten up the house, or a new book or movie or game you’ve been wanting. Little treats can’t fix the problem, but they can make it more tolerable.

It’s not that they’re hugely important in themselves, but they help because they remind us that, even though so much of our day is clouded and burdened with problems and anxiety, there is still good in the world, still sweetness, still calm, still satisfaction.

Little treats also remind us that we’re worth putting a little bit of effort into, and that our current state of misery and distress is not normal and not desirable, but should be remedied.

Well, my friends. Whether there’s a pandemic on or not, why not give little treats to the poor? Why not offer them small, unnecessary consolations, just because they’re poor, and that sucks, and it will cheer them up to have a little treat?

It’s very common for financially comfortable people to have a conscious or unconscious policy of denying even the smallest of treats to the poor. I think some folks don’t even realize they harbor these thoughts, but they believe deep down that it’s okay for comfortable people to give themselves little treats as a consolation when times are hard, but it’s somehow not okay for poor people to enjoy the same. That there’s something unhealthy or unhelpful or unseemly about the poor receiving any charity beyond the bare necessities.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

Image by frankieleon via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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2 thoughts on “Treats for the poor”

  1. My dad used to buy extra Thin Mints and Samoas from my sister and I to give to the dudes on street corners panhandling. It always made them grin.

  2. Yes! It’s this thought that sometimes paralyzes me when we cook for our parish shelter. I want it to be a nice meal that brings a bit of ease. We eat with the guests and last year one of the men remarked that he could tell that the potato salad was the real deal and made with love. Yes, it’s my mom’s recipe and one of her showstoppers. It takes a long time to make it for 20 people, but if I can swing that or some other really nice meal element, I try. We all deserve to be treated.

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