by Suzanne Reisler Litwin
Years ago when I was driving home from a shopping mall, a homeless person came up to my car at a stop light and asked me for some food or money. Quickly, I reached into my purse and pulled out a chocolate chip oatmeal chewy bar and gave it to him. He gave me a huge smile and sincerely thanked me. As I drove away from him, I noticed how quickly he ate it. At that moment, I felt good about giving him the bar.
Some days following that event I went to a grocery store to buy many more chewy bars. I always keep food with me as I have a tendency to have low blood sugar. I keep one in my purse at all times. On this particular day, I placed about 5 chewy bars in my glove compartment.
A week or two later, at another intersection, a young girl asked me for food or money. I gave her a chocolate chip chewy bar. Again, I got a big smile, a thank you, and she told me that she loved this kind of food. I love them too!
What I really loved was how happy I made her and how wonderful this made me feel.
Now I was hooked. I came to realize that oatmeal chewy bars are a good thing to give for many reasons. The first reason is that chewy bars expand in your stomach and give you a feeling of being somewhat full. The oatmeal makes this happen. They are sweet, tasty, chewy, and stay fresh for a long time.
Secondly, chewy bars are not expensive. If you buy them on sale, each bar will cost you around .40 or .50 cents. Yes, it’s true! What can you buy for .40 cents that will make you feel content? If you gave someone .50 cents, what can they buy?
Thirdly, the smile you will receive when you give this is worth every penny. Helping someone in some way is always fulfilling. Giving money might contribute to their problem, but a chewy bar will sooth and fill a belly.
I’m sure many people will disagree with me and suggest that people who ask for money or food should simply get a job. I suppose if it was that simple they would, which usually isn’t the case.
The other day I was in my car with my 15 year old son. Again, a person walked up to our car and asked for money. My son asked me if I had any chewy bars. I said there many are in the glove compartment. He rushed to open it and gave it to me. I opened my window and gave it to this very weary person. In a flash, his face lit up with a smile. So did my face and my son’s. All of us felt good about giving and receiving.
As individuals we can’t change the whole world, but as a collective group we can make some positive changes. I know my children will give chewy bars to people who ask for money or food. Already, my children keep these bars in their knapsacks, handbags, and cars. If you need to fill your belly, they are just the thing.
I sent a letter to the company which makes the bars that I give away. I told them of what I do. They sent me coupons for many free bars so I can liberally give them away. I gave them all away, quickly. Now I try to buy them on sale.
I’m not trying to promote the chewy bar industry per sé. What I am suggesting is when someone asks you for money or food chose to give them food. Something that is useful and not costly for you. Two wonderful things will surly happen. The receiving person will be happy and so will you!
I hope this concept will go viral. Perhaps there will be an international “Chewy Bar Day” and with it many people will be happy, content, and a whole lot sweeter! It could be a special day of giving and smiling.
Perhaps, we can save a part of this world, one chewy bar at a time!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.