I am am beginning to feel as though I’ve lived in community for a lot longer than just a month. There have been many small, spontaneous moments throughout the days and weeks where I am getting to know the 9 other people I live with better. As my housemate’s life stories organically begin to pour out, I am slowly dissolving the images and incorrect judgements I had of them just a month earlier. And whether they do their school work with Mos Def streaming from their earphones or tucked away in our house’s chapel, the diversity of our house is evident. I anticipate challenges to come, but I need to remember: we are all trying to reach the same summit, but have climbed, and to continue to climb on very different sides of that mountain.
One of my responsibilites to the house has introduced me to the wonderful world of grocery store food donations. Every Monday me and my housemate, Alex leave the house at 7am and drive to Whole Foods on Sheffield and North Ave. Just about every morning, Whole Foods has produce, namely dairy and fruit, sometimes bread, that is either slightly damaged or expired. So rather than throwing the food away, they put it aside and then hand it off to non-profits, like the Vincent and Louise House. In the last couple of weeks, Alex and I have been picking carts full of grapes, apples and bakery items. Each day depends, of course. Afterwards, we drive the food over to the St. Francis Catholic Worker in Uptown and the rest to the Cornerstone Community Outreach Center.
Between the Whole Foods donation run, Alex and I also grocery shop for our house. We have a $150 budget for the week, which may not seem a lot for 10 people, but that also depends on where you shop! Stanleys Fruit and Vegatables on North Ave. has some of the freshest and cheapest produce around. The best part is that most of it is organic and locally grown. Forget buying a pound of grapes from Chile for $2.00! Stanleys had delicious, black seedless grapes from California, through still far, but only for 89 cents a pound. For the rest of our groceries, like dairy and dry and canned foods, we shop at Aldis. We were able to feed our house (and our community who comes to dinner) for a cart full of groceries for just under $90. That amount of groceries would have costed at least double at Dominaks. Of course, the quality of food may be less, but I think shopping at Stanleys compensates for that.