As you all know, going to the grocery store can be painful because the food is ridiculously overpriced. I remember back in the day when I could shop and spend $150 and be loaded down with groceries. Now, I take home 2-3 bags, if I’m lucky. After many trips to the store and feeling pissed off because the store just raped my poor little bank account, I decided to challenge myself to saving money on my food bill. It averaged about $100 to $150 a month and that would only cover the family bare basics. I needed to find a way to supplement my income and keep my money in my pocket. Bills had to be paid. Life happens. Things I had no control over, happened, all at once. So, I started researching for different way to procure quality, inexpensive food. I found that there are local food co-ops and food pantries in my neighborhood. But, I needed a place that did not require proof of income because even though I had money, I didn’t have enough for food. I have too many bills. It is my fault that the money coming in was not enough for the monthly bills and food. I could not pay for both.
I found a pantry near my home that resembled a mom and pop corner store. It was clean and friendly. After 3 months of standing in line for free food every weekend, I decided to asked one of the volunteers if they needed more help. Thank goodness she said, yes! The next thing I knew, I had one of the best gigs EVER. I really enjoy it. I was assigned to pickup donated food from neighborhood stores and drop the donations off at the pantry. I was picking up food that these stores where going to throw away. The unopened, firmly wrapped food, fresh but bruised fruits and vegetables were headed to the garbage bin. It was edible food saved from going to waste. Once at the pantry, we unpacked the van and stocked the pantry shelves with fruit, vegetables, breads and pastries that were baked the day before. We also greeted and assisted the beautiful people of the community with their food choices and special needs. Now, I volunteer a couple of hours every weekend. I love this barter system. I volunteer my time and gas and they give me food boxes. That works for me. It’s a perfect trade-off. I enjoy meeting the people who come in. It’s a wonderful community. Volunteering feels good. We help put food in bellies instead of the garbage.