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Years ago, I was a director of a crisis center. We were mainly a crisis center for pregnant women, but we also did food and clothing, as moms need to eat and wear clothes too. Doing this, I went to many community meetings, were I met with those who ran the food pantry, and discovered that we had many common issues. One of those issues, was trying to give our clients items that they needed they could actually use.
It sounds simple when you donate food to a center. You give it, they pass it on. But, the reality is, it is not that simple. Here are a few simple trips to make it easier on the center workers, and those who are receiving the food.
Instead, donate a meal. Make the items you give add up to something that a person or family can use for a meal. Suggestions may include, 2 cans of spaghetti sauce, pasta, can of olives, can of mushrooms, a can of fruit, and can of veggies, and a desert. If items come in like that, we leave them bagged like that to give out. It's really, simple, if you give a box of Tuna Helper, get the tuna to go with it.
Some who need help are also on food stamps, but they don't stretch far enough. I know of a senior couple who get $68 a month for them to eat on. You can't feed 2 on $68 a month. Many people are not aware that food stamps do not cover toilet paper, soap, shampoo, women's monthly items or deodorant. Its nice to include those items as well.
Right now I am working with a young lady who I am giving food to directly. On my way to take it to her, I am going to stop the store and get her some frozen chicken breasts, ground hamburger, bread, milk and eggs, bag of potatoes, and a bag of mixed fruits (apples, oranges, grapefruit).
Also, remember that many are down on their luck and not proud of the fact they are going to the center for help. Give them the respect that you would want.
For all you hunters out there, remember the food pantries and the homeless when your freezer gets filled up and your friends don't need any more venison or wild game. Everybody can benefit from your sport.
By Elyag from Rochester, NY
My frugal self sometimes gets carried away with triple coupon offers and BOGO's. Then comes the day that I realize I have two large jars of mayonnaise, three bottles of ketchup, etc. Then there's the freezer with meats purchased in bulk and frozen leftovers. These items are still edible, but they really need to be used soon.
I can't bear wasting food, but knowing there is someone out there who could really use these extras gives me the boost I need to clean out. Our local food distribution center gladly accepts both frozen, perishable, and non-perishable foods. They even have a chute for dropping off the non-perishables after hours.
When we have leftovers from a party or a church function, the leftovers are taken to the homeless shelter or Loaves and Fishes where they are quickly and gratefully received and distributed.
By Sandy from Elon, NC