Half the country is lining up for food while the other half is lining up for puppies

So yesterday I went out for a walk (if I didn’t get the heck out of my house, I was going to go bananas and freak out on someone), and I decided to listen to a podcast. It was The Daily and the episode was about this woman named Jasmine who owns a restaurant in Baton Rouge with her hubby and their two daughters. I’m not going to recap the whole episode, but in a nutshell she was talking about whether they were going to open their restaurant back up right now.

You see, their oldest daughter has lots of health issues because she was born verrrryyy premature, and they can’t risk her getting sick by reopening their restaurant. On the other hand, if they don’t reopen, they could lose their business, and then their house, and ultimately the ability to care for this daughter. So you either risk your daughter’s life by reopening, or you risk your daughter’s life by not reopening. That is a totally crappy decision to have to make. It had me tearing up on my walk, and I wasn’t the only one. The host literally had to pause the episode for a moment and collect himself.

And the awful thing is this is just one story. Just one. OF MILLIONS. Multiply this sadness, this anxiety, this dilemma by millions of people and that’s what is happening everywhere in this country. 

I turn on the news and I see the cars lined up for miles waiting for food. People who never thought they’d have to take this kind of help. People who are feeding their families two meals a day instead of three because they have to figure out a way to cut back.

And what kills me is I look around my area, and I see people lining up for something else. Puppies. And pools. They’re sold out everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with getting a puppy right now. Or a pool. But the divide has never been more apparent to me. 

Half the country is lining up for food, while the other half is lining up for puppies. 

There’s one more part of the podcast I haven’t told you yet. When Jasmine (the woman who owns the restaurant in Baton Rouge) was in the shower one day a few weeks ago, her eight-year-old daughter left something on her bed. All the money she’d saved up from her allowance. $57. She left it with a note that said she wants her mommy to have it in case it would help their family. It was heartbreaking. The host asked what Jasmine did with the money, and I waited for her to say she gave it back to her daughter. “No honey, you saved this, it’s yours.” That’s what I would do with the money. That’s what people in my area would do with the money.

But Jasmine didn’t.

She said she held on to the $57 and she’s praying she doesn’t have to use it. I just about lost it when I heard her say this. The thought that a mother would have to borrow money from her eight-year-old daughter. But that’s what’s happening. Everywhere.

I’ve found myself missing a lot of things lately. I miss getting my hair done, and watching my daughter ice skate, I miss eating at restaurants, and wandering around Target aimlessly, and lots of other things. But I’m not going to complain about it. From now on when I want to complain about how much this whole thing sucks, I’m going to try to remind myself that it sucks a lot more for other people. And just because I can’t leave home doesn’t mean I have to live in a bubble. 

If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it. Thank you!! And if you have the means to help, you can do what I’m doing today. In honor of Jasmine I’m giving $57 to Feeding America and another $57 to UNICEF. And if you have a story like Jasmine’s, feel free to put it in the comments on my Facebook page if you feel like sharing it. Thank you. 


There are 10 comments for this article
  1. JENNEFER WHITE at 10:57 am

    I had a very similar experience when I heard this podcast.

  2. Andrea T at 11:02 am

    It breaks my heart to hear these stories. I will admit, we are among the quarantine puppies people. But we we actually in the process just before the world shut down. And we discussed and debated whether it was still a good idea amid everything going on. We decided to move forward with bringing him home because what better time to train a puppy then when we aren’t leaving the house for the foreseeable future.

    Anyway, totally not the point of your story. And thank you for the reminder and challenge to look beyond myself and think about how I can help and support others who are in need.

  3. Ivon at 11:24 am

    Is there a way to send Jasmine a direct donation?

  4. Kathleen Pak at 11:54 am

    Good column. You are so right. So many people are desperate out there. I just try to remember that whatever is going on in my life someone has it worse than me.

  5. januarybabies7577 at 12:07 pm

    When you are physically isolated, and just trying to survive the day, it’s easy to get lost in your own problems. Thank you for providing some perspective. And you’ve inspired me to take action in my own community – even if it’s just donating to a local food bank.

  6. Hilary at 5:54 pm

    I’m a Canadian and am appalled at the economic divide in your country. Americans slam Canadians for being “socialist” but we don’t make people choose between risking our lives economically and health care. It’s time your country learned what children learn in elementary school – to share.

  7. Colleen Dougherty- Koulentes at 7:01 pm

    Can I just give money to Jasmine?

  8. Sherry BERGER at 7:08 pm

    Thx for putting it in perspective – hope all the complainers and non compliant people read this! Stay safe, stay healthy.

  9. Nadine at 7:39 pm

    As someone who works in the pet supply industry, I am not looking forward to what’s going to happen to all those new pets when people go back to work and no longer have time to take care of them. I know everyone has good intentions and are looking for something to do with their free time, but a pet is a huge commitment. If you didn’t have the time before the pandemic, you’re probably not going to have time when things are normal(ish) again. Not to mention, a pet is another mouth to feed, and too many people are struggling to stay afloat right now without adding pet food and vet bills and all the other expenses a pet needs. I really hope they’ve actually thought this through.

  10. Hilary at 11:04 pm

    I agree. I’ve been in dog rescue for 15 years and we’re bracing for the onslaught of new intakes as people realize they’ve overcommitted.