Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Visited the Food Pantry Today

Today I visited a local food pantry.  Between Cayenne's vet bills and my dental bills this month, I am totally broke.  I have $15 in food stamps and that is my grocery money for the rest of the month.  I have about $30 in the bank and that is for gas money and for buying cat food.  So I decided to hit the food pantry.

If you've never visited a food pantry before, well, you never know what you're going to get.  What you get depends on what people have donated.  It is not always what you need to put together a balanced, nutritious meal.  However, you might be surprised to get name brand products and even snack foods.

Today, I got:

  • graham crackers
  • teddy grahams
  • iced animal crackers
  • Lorna Doone cookies
  • Fig Newtons
  • Poptarts
  • chocolate brownie Fiber One bars
  • microwave popcorn
  • rosemary olive oil bread (like from a bakery, beautiful and really yummy)
  • whole wheat sandwich thins
  • Great Grains cinnamon hazelnut protein cereal
  • two cans of green beans
  • one can of tomato soup
  • one can of chicken noodle soup
  • frozen pancakes
  • two frozen dinners (both of which contain meat, which I don't eat)
  • beef jerky (Isaac will eat that)
Notice how I got more dessert and snack items than actual food to make a meal from?  And I am supposed to be on a low carb, low sugar diet.  But beggars can't be choosers, right?

Something else about getting food from a food pantry is that you don't always get stuff that goes together.  You get one element of a meal or dish, but not the rest of the stuff to eat with it. 

Like, I got bread.  However, I am out of butter at home.  They did not give me any butter.  What am I supposed to put on my bread?  I don't want to use part of my $15 in food stamps on butter.  Fortunately, I have plenty of olive oil at home and rosemary olive oil bread dipped in a little olive oil is really yummy.  But it would be nice if food pantries gave out butter or peanut butter or something that you could eat on your bread. 

Same with the pancakes.  I don't have any syrup.  I'm not using part of my $15 in food stamps to buy some.  But who wants to eat dry pancakes?

This isn't necessary something that food pantries are doing wrong.  They can only distribute what is donated to them.  But it can be a challenge to put together a meal when, for instance, they give you a box of mac-n-cheese but no milk or butter and you need both milk and butter to prepare the mac-n-cheese. 

I don't know what the solution is.  I guess it would be good to donate food that doesn't require added ingredients to prepare, unless you can donate all the necessary ingredients.  But you know how there are often donation barrels for food pantries at grocery stores?  You can put a box of mac-n-cheese in there, but you can't put milk and butter in there.  I guess you'd do better to donate a box of pasta and a jar of pasta sauce or something like that.

Anyway, I now have breakfast, dessert and snacks to last me a good while.

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