Can I get serious for a post?
I am a secretary at a local church. Of all the things that are difficult about my job, the most difficult is someone calling the church or coming in asking for financial assistance and not being able to help them fully.
The church is right on a major highway, so we frequently have folks come in who are homeless or traveling. We try to help by providing foods that can be easily microwaved or eaten without needing any prep at all. We also provide gas station vouchers if we have available funds to purchase them so people in need can buy gas or easy to prepare foods.
In addition, our congregation collects food for a local food pantry. If there is anything available when people come by or call, we will offer food from that collection. (And yes, the food pantry knows and is okay with it as long as the food goes to someone in need.)
Occasionally we’ll get asked for grocery store vouchers or gift cards. Once in a blue moon we might get a few through donations, but for a couple reasons, they aren’t generally as useful to the majority of the people who ask us for assistance.
Most of the time people are grateful for what we can offer. But sometimes...sometimes people take advantage of our generosity or they wonder why we can’t do more. Recently I had someone call who asked for a grocery store gift card. This person claimed they had “plenty of canned goods,” but needed “fresh produce, meat, and milk.” The caller got huffy with me when I said we had no grocery store gift cards. I could only offer a gas station voucher and a reference to a local food pantry open that morning. And look, I get it. I have had to live off food pantry food too. But sometimes you have to make the best of things and do with what you have. If you have plenty of canned goods, count yourself lucky because some people don’t even have that.
So over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a series on how to make the best of things and how to use items generally found in food bank distributions. Most of these posts will be more method than recipe, although there will be a couple recipes thrown in there for good measure. There will also be some resources for assistance, for recipes under $5.00 per meal for a family of 4, and most importantly, where you can help to end hunger in your area.
Stick around. We’ll get started next Wednesday.
Find the entire Making the Best of Things series here.