Orphans Freegans Missions and God

Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. (Psalm 68)

There is a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise across the street from where I work. Beside it is a dumpster enclosed by a high wooden fence with a gate that is locked, occasionally. Across from the dumpster on a concrete riser sat a young man, reasonably clean and seemingly composed. He had thick features and a brush-cut. He smiled slightly when he talked, revealing even teeth.

He said he was waiting for someone to throw away some drumsticks or a chicken burger. Said it happens all the time. I told him where he could get a better meal, healthy, not left-over. He thought about it and frowned. Said he might do that later. But the suggestion threw him off.

I thought about the Freegans that I discovered when the little dust-up over brochures about dumpster etiquette was in the news. (See earlier post.) The Freegans are a community that have totally boycotted the "economic system". Instead of boycotting one bad company to support another they try, as far as possible, to live by not buying anything. They have dumpster banquets. They live off of what we throw away. They’re picky in their own way, they clean it up and discard what can’t be eaten.

Well, Mission’s have been doing that for years with the difference that we intercept the too-old-for-retail food from the back of donut shops and grocery stores before it hits the dumpster. We have our regular pick-ups where certain stores hang on to their better stuff until we retrieve it.

Freegans also have there favorite spots where the selections and the throwaways are better. Our KFC has no doubt been one of those. Perhaps that’s why they put the fence up. But Freegans wouldn’t collect here. The other part of Free, is Vegan.

The young man was obviously not a Freegan, he liked chicken, was not much interested in a "movement" or a "philosophy". And he had been here before; and now, having just been released from jail, was back. I asked him about work and he said he’s tried the temp-agencies but finds it hard getting through a day. He said that he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

As I was leaving he called to me, I turned and he said that he had had a very good dream last night. I walked back and asked him what the dream was about. He thought for moment. I waited. He screwed up his face. I saw him struggle to lift something out that just wouldn’t surface. I waited…I said dreams are hard to explain sometimes. He finally asserted, "Well, it was spiritual." That seemed to satisfy him.

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