This Christmas, Mormon.org has invited us to participate in 25 days of service through their campaign, #LIGHTtheWORLD”. Each day leading up to Christmas, they have identified 25 scriptures to help inspire acts of service each day.
Have you ever been truly hungry? It’s surprising how many people in our own neighborhoods have been in this position. It’s unnerving that so many children look forward to school just so they can have a decent meal.
Food is usually the first thing cut from a budget
When families are struggling, food is often the first thing that is cut from their budget. If you have been blessed and you are able to provide for the basic needs of your family, consider helping others who aren’t so fortunate.
Or find a family who is going through a current struggle and help make sure that they have the food that they need.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation, do you know where to go for help? Do you know how to access resources when you’re struggling so much that you can’t afford to feed your kids?
I believe in doing everything you can to be self-sufficient, but there are times we all need help. Don’t let your pride get in the way so much that your kids go hungry. No child should go hungry and there are places to go for help when needed.
How can you help those in need?
- Take a meal to a family in need or someone you would like to help in your neighborhood.
- Order meat in bulk and share your order with others.
- Drop off a bag of groceries to a single mom or someone who is down on their luck.
- Visit a local school and donate to pay down lunch accounts that are in collections.
- Drop off or mail a grocery gift card or restaurant gift card to a friend or family member.
- When making dinner, make extra for another family once each week.
- Donate to a local food bank.
- Hold a fundraiser or food drive during a holiday party or at work.
- Do a “12 Days of Christmas” event for a neighbor and secretly leave gift cards, snacks or other surprises at their door each day.
- Make freezer meals for someone who could use it.
- Order pizza, prepaid, and have it delivered to someone else.
- Give a gift basket of snacks.
- Create a themed gift basket of items needed for a meal. Ex: spaghetti noodles, sauce, cheese, breadsticks, drinks.
- Subscribe to a local food drop or community coop and order extra food for a neighbor.
- Donate to a local homeless shelter.
- Make small bags of snacks, water, etc. for the homeless.
- Volunteer at a food bank, homeless shelter, etc.
If your family needs help:
Whether you’re struggling to feed your family, or you just want to cut down costs and save money on your food budget, here are some resources for you to look into. (These resources are specific to Utah, but other states should have similar help available)
Free School Lunches
If you have school age children, check to see if they qualify for free or discounted lunches at school. This can save you money and you will know that your children will have food available for lunch every day (and breakfast at some schools). Talk to someone at your child’s school for an application or information on applying online.
In Utah, you can apply for food stamps at the Division of Workforce Services (DWS). If you qualify, you will receive an EBT card with a certain amount of money loaded onto it each month to help purchase food.
The income guidelines for WIC are much higher than many other programs. This program is for pregnant women or families with children under 5 years old. If you qualify, you will get vouchers that will help you pay for food such as: formula, milk, eggs, cheese, produce, peanut butter, etc.
For a list of local food banks/pantries, check out 211 Information and Referral Food Resources.
Local Food Coop
There are a few local food co-ops. Shopping through a co-op is a great way to shop local produce and also to buy organic at lower prices
- Utah Co-op: Located in Murray. They offer a bonus for using your EBT card (see site for details).
- Bountiful Baskets: I honestly haven’t tried this one yet, but have heard that people love it.
Purchase food in bulk when possible
Costco or Sams Club can be great places to buy food in bulk. They do require memberships, but you can always find a friend or family member with a membership and shop with them.
If you happen to have a food order for the Bishop’s Storehouse, check out this Unofficial Guide to the Bishop’s Storehouse Ebook.
Free Summer Meals for Kids
Many school districts provide free summer meals for kids.
Holiday Food Assistance
For food resources during the holidays, you can find more information on my Thansksgiving post.
You may also want to check out my post on Gift card deals during the holidays or budgeting as a single parent. What are your tips on purchasing food at a discount? How do you save money on food for your family?