Opinion

Food raids threaten Y2K supplies

"Thanksgiving is the beginning of food-raid season, which in this year of Y2K is more serious than ever.Unless you want to lose your stockpile, you’d better invest in padlocks and surveillance cameras because they’re going to get your food.We’re not worried about grinches, survivalists or kleptomaniacs, but rather our own children who are bent on theft for a single purpose -- to contribute to all the food drives held by the schools and churches. If they went around the neighborhood asking for donations every time a food drive commences they’d eventually be stoned by an angry mob, so they opt to take from home to give to the poor.Parents are never told that the raiding season is under way. But it eventually dawns on us as we reach for that can of tomato sauce that we knew we bought just last week, or frantically search the cupboards for the olives needed to embellish the burrito dinner. Either we’re getting forgetful or somebody swiped them -- and this time of year the latter is a sure thing.Perhaps with one kid the raids wouldn’t be so bad. They’re careful not to take everything and thereby give themselves away. So they’ll snatch two cans of green beans and leave one, one can of corn and leave two, one of the two cornbread mixes, and part of the stash of saltine crackers. But pickings get pretty slim for the second kid, who therefore must be bolder in what he takes, and by the time the third kid starts collecting for his or her food drive, they’ll take whatever’s left -- half a box of instant mashed potatoes, the peaches in heavy gooey syrup bought on special six months ago, the pancake mix with simulated blueberries that we only tried once. By the time Christmas break arrives, the household cook has nothing to work with but the balls of dust in the corners of the cupboards. Dustball soup, anyone?This should be a banner year for food banks as the kids of the world have all those Y2K supplies to sneak into their backpacks. They’ll be staggering around with 50 pound bags of rice, balancing enormous packages of pasta in their arms, and dragging out bagsful of beans. Admit it. Even though Y2K is no doubt overblown, you’ve at least bought a few extra cans of stuff in recent months -- just in case. Well, you can forget about preparedness. Thanks to food drives, it’ll all be gone come Jan. 1, 2000. If you think you can survive for a week without a grocery store, think again. Your shelves by then will be bare as an Ethiopian’s, and international relief organizations don’t have you on their list.That means that if Y2K is bad, we’ll all be lining up at Good Cheer to share what’s available in their Food Bank. Fortunately, it won’t be like we’re taking a handout. After all, it’s all our stuff."

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