The Return to College Ritual

Alex UW-Madison Move InThe summer is passing by way too quickly. It seems like we just moved our daughter’s “stuff” home from college and she is already preparing her list of additional “stuff” to bring back to college! It was easier when her school supply list consisted of 8 markers, 4 glue sticks, 10 No. 2 pencils, 4 pens (including 1 red pen), 5 folders, 5 spiral notebooks, a ruler, a protractor and a compass. Now the list includes a microwave, single-serve coffeemaker, and a 5×7 rug. We are fortunate that as electronics continue to improve, the cost continues to decrease. When microwaves first came out (yes, I do remember that day), my family paid nearly $500 for an extremely heavy, large version of the new timesaver device. Now, you can get an efficient smaller microwave for $50. On move-in day, we will make our usual stop at the local Walmart to pick up miscellaneous food items that she can prepare in her efficient microwave.

Abundant fresh produce at a farmers marketThe increase in food prices is partially due to the additional indecipherable ingredients that are added to enhance the flavor and “nutritional value” of the item. If our daughter’s dorm was near a grocery store, she could purchase nutritional food items with one real ingredient such as lettuce, pears, bananas, and strawberries. With lack of transportation, her choices are limited. Out of convenience, many families choose less nutritious, higher-priced food items from stores closer to their home.

Recently, I read an editorial in the Chicago Tribune’s “Speak Out” column from an anonymous tyrant who couldn’t comprehend why people have children if they can’t afford to feed them. Seriously? Most people struggle at some time in their life and when this happens, Loaves & Fishes is there to offer support both emotionally and physically. At Loaves & Fishes, we are able to provide fresh produce, meat and dairy along with a wide assortment of other food items to families who are struggling to put food on their table. Our son lives in Washington, DC and our daughter will be heading back to school soon; I will always worry about them, but I know they have the tools to survive any situation they might encounter.

MadisonmarketSo until the end of October, our daughter will continue her weekly ritual of hunting for fresh produce and other items at the local Farmer’s Market. Maybe she should take a lesson from the native squirrel and start preparing for the inevitable winter hibernation. Although, with all of the “hiding” places in her dorm room, she may not be able to locate her hidden “treasure” let alone a No. 2 pencil!

Diane Ramonas, Donor Relations Officer

To read volunteer Sue Swedler’s amazing response to this editorial by clicking here.