It was not unexpected to read about the numbers those restaurants served yesterday, how many take out meals were delivered to shut ins and how many groceries were available for the taking.
I was dismayed, however, about the number who showed up for a free meal without really needing one. Some, the article said, just didn't want to spend time alone or didn't feel like cooking for themselves or going to someone elses home. I don't have a problem with them wanting to go out rather than go through the labor; I do have a problem with them accepting a free meal if they could have paid.
There are scores of restaurants that serve up Thanksgiving fare in comparison to those serving the needy for free. There are scores of restaurants with more than reasonable prices. Restaurants tend to be filled with people if being in the company of people is your goal. The cooking, serving and clean up is certainly provided for you so you needn't lift a finger. It's not that there is no choice if going out is what's desired. It just seems to me that if you can pay you should.
After all, even though volunteer labor eases the burden of generosity, the food the restaurants provide still has to be paid for - by someone. The help is foregoing pay. Willingly to be sure, but this day and age even one days worth of tips can put a real dent in a budget.
When one restaurant owner said she wanted to help people at any level of need, perhaps she truly meant those who are no more than lonely or lacking the ambition to do the work. Maybe that's what community giving is all about.
I just know that I couldn't be on the receiving end for reasons other than real need. To me that's taking advantage of the very best of intentions for the very worst.