Squashes, Peppers, and Salaam Alaikum

I had a moment of humanity-restoration today during my new favorite Saturday morning ritual.

Food waste is an issue that cuts me right to the core, something that bothers me at a deep spiritual level. We produce enough food as a planet to feed everyone on it, and yet hundreds of thousands of people go hungry around the world every day. This is not ok.

So I was delighted to discover that every weekend, the local Produce on Wheels foodbank goes around town offering up to 60 pounds of produce to anyone who will give a $10 donation, produce that would otherwise be going to the landfill. The first time I went to check it out, I had mediocre expectations about the quality of produce that I would be able to take home with me.

Boy was I wrong.

This morning, the foodbank was parked in the parking lot of the local Islamic Community Center in Chandler, less than 15 mins from my house. I was worried that perhaps the location would keep some people from coming this week, especially considering how red my state is and how saturated with Islamaphobia our political discourse has become.

Again - boy, was I wrong. This was the busiest weekend yet, and I was there just 15 mins after they started serving people. The women checking us in were offering a "salaam alaikum!" along with our "shopping lists" and I was surrounded by nothing but smiles in all shapes and sizes.

Bigotry can't survive connection. Bigotry can't survive smiles and the kindness of strangers. We are more than what the worst of us do to each other. I'm so grateful to get a dose of humanity every time I have the opportunity to patronize the food bank, and so stinkin' lucky to go to a school at which I see as many hijab and nikab as blue jeans every day.

We belong to each other. Peace be unto you.

Now eat your vegetables!