Organize My Hunger Pains
It’s noon and I’m hungry. In fact, I think I’ll phone up my
girlfriend, tell her I’m starving, and see if she wants to head out
to lunch at the local deli.
The truth of the matter is that I am not THAT hungry nor am I
starving. I had dinner last night and breakfast this morning. If you
are like me, you probably toss out the terms hungry and starving
without contemplating what they really mean.
Last month, I had a back scene tour of a local food pantry. The tour
led me to imagine having to ask for a bag of food and living off
that bag for 5 days.
would certainly challenge your organizing skills. Here is what you
would get to survive for 5 days.
5 cans vegetables
1 can fruit
1 pound rice (or pasta)
1 quart of dry milk
“It is just barely enough for five days and you have to be very,
very careful to stretch that for five days,” said Cathy Sowell,
program director for Manna Food Pantries in Pensacola, Florida.
The waste was enough to make me want to cry. There were tubs filled
with donations like poppy seed tart filling, steak marinade, cherry
pie filling, taco seasoning packets, boysenberry jelly and all the
other oddities that we toss in our bags without a thought. It was a
pile of food yet that food would not fill the belly of a crying,
These are the kinds of things all of us have tossed in a bag at one
time or another, never stopping to picture the real need for a bag
of rice or a can of peas.
“We are seeing more families and larger families that are hungry,”
she said about the current economy. “People are losing their jobs
and people are hurting. We are averaging 15 percent more that last
year and it will probably only get worse.”
Shoot! I’m starting to get sticker shock at the grocery store.
Yesterday evening, my husband came in from the shopping and said
“Are groceries getting more expensive or is it me?”
You want statistics, I ask? Milk is up 26 percent. Eggs are up 40
percent. You bet they are more expensive. No wonder people are
running out of food before the next pay check arrives. Combine the
rising cost of food and the gas prices and it is harder to live on
your paycheck. Food prices are expected to rise about 4 percent this
year, according to the US Department of Agriculture forecast.
bet you feel like I do….that it is hard to make a difference if you
are just one person. But, you can do so.
Lea’s Old Method of Donating:
Go to pantry. Rummage around in the back. Grab anything that has
become pushed to the back that we didn’t eat.
Grab a few things that
I have extra of. Then look at bag and feel guilty and throw in a box
of cereal or other item.
Lea’s New Method of Donating:
Imagine cooking a dinner from what is in that bag. Is there anything
remotely healthy in the bag?
What if I was the one who had to eat from that bag for a week?
What to donate from your pantry
To learn what to donate, I’m turning to the expert. Cathy Sowell has
spelled out the kinds of things that hungry people in this country
really need and the things they don’t need.
Dry milk- one of the first
things to run out.
Rice, pasta – donate it in
small packages so it can be shared among several families. Five
1-pound bags is a better donation that one 5-pound bag that will
need to be divided by volunteers.
Protein- canned meat,
canned fish, dry beans, peanut butter
Canned dinners- such as
What not to
donate from your pantry
Don’t send your sweets,
like cake mixes. Don’t send your salty snacks. Concentrate on
nutritional foods. As Cathy says “If I need to give someone
food, I need to give them some food that will stick to their
Don’t send flour, sugar and
other ingredients. Most of the hungry that come to the food
pantry don’t know how to cook from scratch.
Don’t send anything that
you opened. If it is opened, they have to throw it out.
Don’t send your old stuff.
If those cans are older than 2 years, they will have to throw
them out. The same with cans that are bulging, rusting, or
Cathy was great to show me how each bag is loaded with a combination
of nutritional ingredients. One bag is prepared for each hungry
person and the pantry is very careful to make sure the bags contain
different items. This way, each member of a family of four receives
a different bag so the family as a whole would not receive four jars
of peanut butter.
The food drive is May 10. Each time you shop this month, make it a
plan to buy extra nutritional food for your food pantry. Grab some
rice, some beans, and a box of dry milk.
Wondering what happens to all those oddities that people donate.
After a bag of nutritionally sound food is prepared, one odd item is
dropped on top – sort of an unhealthy bonus. The food that is
expired opened or not useable to the hungry goes to a pig farm.
Nothing goes to waste. That should be the same motto you use for
As for me, I’ve decided to get a cup of coffee and keep on working.
I don’t think I am hungry after all.