About a week ago, a plea went out from one of our church members that our local food bank was running out of supplies. Although the community always donates around holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc., donations were currently down and the food bank was suffering due to the shortage. While we donated at church, I felt there was more we could be doing to help.
After speaking to my wife Suzanne about what our family could do, I came up with an idea. If we were the ones needing help and we didn’t have any extras such as milk, butter or any other perishable foods, what would we want to receive? What could we donate that would be a complete meal for a needy family, not just a can of this or a box of that?
Then I took it a step further. Could we take our weekly food budget, split it in half and purchase a week’s worth of groceries for our family and give duplicates to the food bank? Things we would actually eat ourselves, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At first, my family wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea. But the more we discussed it, we all began to get excited and the ideas started flowing. The initial problem was trying to come up with complete non-perishable meals. No spaghetti since we couldn’t donate hamburger meat. No mashed potatoes since we couldn’t donate milk and butter.
Our creativity kicked in, and we found new ways to solve problems. Breakfast was easy – Pop tarts or oatmeal. Lunches weren’t so hard – tuna, rice, Chef Boyardee or ramen noodles. After school snacks for the boys – applesauce or pudding cups. We even purchased chips and cookies, along with olive oil and salt & pepper.
Dinners were a little harder. We came across some canned chili that looks as good as homemade. Pair that up with cornbread mix that only needs water added and you have your first meal. Fettuccine and alfredo sauce with canned white meat chicken and cheesy parmesan biscuits for our next meal. We decided on three complete boxed meals for our last meals of the week – chicken and potatoes, Asian stir fry and pizza pasta.
By this point, even the boys were ready to give. They used their allowance to purchase a big bag of gummy bears and candy bars – one for them and one for the food bank. I’m so proud of them. I think they are starting to get the hang of it. They are excitingly awaiting donation day.
By the way, we came in .98 cent under budget. So buy a stick of gum.