This is my first time doing this
I’m part of a team of folks providing food and necessities to people who need them during this pandemic and much of the provision happens in a twice a week food distribution. Our team has provided food necessities to thousands of households in our community and the most common thing I keep hearing is this is my first time doing this.
When you do something like a community wide food distribution, it’s challenging not to judge folks based on outward appearance. There are folks who look like they need assistance more than others. There are folks driving nicer cars than most or with the dealer tags still on the windshield. If it’s your first time helping with a food distribution, you’ll notice and comment and perhaps judge. I was in the same place several years ago too but a heavy dose of the author Ruby Payne and some experience and you can understand a person’s mindset and where folks are coming from (although full disclosure: I did mutter something when I saw the brand new Mercedes in line for the food distribution, so I’ve room to grow here).
The thing with this crisis from my perspective is how it cuts across socio-economic lines. Our recent food distributions have many folks saying this is my first time doing this:
People from all walks of life are experiencing an economic crisis for the first time.
This doesn’t negate the experiences of those who have been in this boat for some time.
This doesn’t mean it’s worse or sadder because more people are experiencing it for the first time or because people from higher socio-economic classes are experiencing it.
It does mean this crisis is different. It means it’s felt by different people and by more people. It means the faces, the clothes and the vehicles in line at the food distribution, on the internet applying for unemployment, or seriously anxious about how things look a month from now look more like my neighbors and yours then previous crises.
For many, it’s their first time asking for help.
And for most of us, it’s our first time living through something like this.
So keep this in mind today.
Remember it’s your Facebook friend’s first time living through something like this when you read her posts and are tempted to type out your disagreement.
Remember it’s teachers’ first time providing remote and virtual education. It’s students’ first times being taught via Zoom and Google Classroom.
Remember it’s your coworkers first time living through something like this this. It’s your family’s first time living through this.
This is your first time doing this.
This is our first time doing this.
If it’s your first time asking for help, it’s okay. You’re okay. You have tremendous strength and courage to ask for help
And if you’re providing help, you’re okay. And be okay with whomever you’re serving understanding your role is to serve and leave the questions and judgments for another day.
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