Dear, Meal Ticket

I thank you for feeding me school breakfast and lunch. I thank you for feeding all the children in the neighborhood. You were one the thing all of us kids from the hood remembered. Mama told us not to forget our meal ticket. No bagged lunches around here, no money for breakfast. Just the bus stop down the corner to get us to school early so we could fill our tummies while we bent over desks scribbling want-to-be cursive on the wide ruled paper.

Thank you, meal ticket, for making it easier for our families. You took two out of the three meals off our parents' plates five days a week. How could we repay you? I could make you some spam and white rice for dinner. That dinner might not be as good as you, meal ticket, but it will fill your belly. It sounds foolish I know, but there is no way I could reimburse you. So I will sit here and praise you in gratitude for saving me and my brothers and sisters from poverty. For teaching us about the service you do for us, meal ticket.

Look at where you got me, meal ticket. I am here writing to thank you for feeding me enough so that I could sit here before you today. We were hopeless, our brains stuck in the mud, not knowing what move we had to make next to fill our tables, but you saved us. You made us excited to go to school, knowing we would be fed a plate full of food and education to get us out of the hood. So that one day we could be just as great as you are and feed the whole neighborhood with integrity.

I want to remind all of you to hold on to your meal ticket even when you find the knowledge to be your own meal ticket one day. Never forget where you came from. This meal ticket saved not only you but so many others. So turn in your meal ticket with pride. And kiss your loved ones for teaching you about the service.

Thank you, meal ticket, for pulling me out of the mud with a full belly.