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When I got there today (Wednesday. I know, it's 5am. Insomnia sucks), I found out it was "clean out the freezers" day. Baked goods that are donated from local grocery stores are kept in huge freezers in the church hall. The freezers get full, and the workers start handing out bags and boxes full of stuff to make room for new donations. The same thing happens with the meat freezer. They can't refreeze what's been put out for the day, so if you come just before close you tend to get a bunch of stuff. Bread and desserts were unlimited today, and we were told to choose 4 meats, instead of the usual 2. The lady handing out the meat said that hardly anyone had come due to the cold. (Unlimited or not, I still feel weird about taking too much, especially desserts *shrugs*)

Here's what we got (for 6 people, for 2 weeks):

2 bags dinner rolls

1 loaf sliced Italian bread

1 loaf sliced wheat bread

1 loaf sliced English muffin bread

1 apple pie (Husband's and my favourite)

1 blueberry pie (13 y.o.'s favourite)

1 single serve chocolate cake square (mine!)

1 package of 3 eye of round steaks

2 4 packs of pre-formed burgers

1 package hot dogs

1 package spicy turkey lunchmeat (gf!)

2 quart-size baggies of bacon-cheddar potato triangles (? I think they are deep-fry only)


1 carton plain yogurt (expired 12/4/14)

1 4 pack of Danimals strawberry yogurt with sprinkles

1 bag matchstick carrots

1 bag onions

5 pounds red potatoes (in pretty bad shape, sadly)

2 bags plain potato chips (yay! gf!)

1 single serve bag kettle korn (also gf!)

12 Russel Stover's S'mores sandwiches

1 bag chocolate M&M cookies

2 boxes of frosted strawberry poptarts

2 boxes Special K red berry granola bars

3 Special K chocolate protein shakes

1 box cranberry almond granola bars

1 5 pound bag cornmeal (yay!)

1 box plain cream of wheat (that's a big "nope!" so went to Almost-MIL)

1 box plain grits

1 can sauerkraut (also a big nope, but A-MIL loves the stuff)

1 big can black beans

1 can french cut green beans

2 cans low sodium homestyle chicken noodle soup

1 single serve can Spaghetti-o's (15 y.o.'s favourite)

1 can diced potatoes

1 can pureed pumpkin

I used half the bag of matchstick carrots and an onion in the fried rice I made for dinner when I got home. The burgers and steaks are thawing the rest of the way for Thursday's dinner (I'm thinking burgers with onion pan-gravy and boiled potatoes for the kids, and the steaks for the adults). I handed out 1 "treat" for each kid when I got home, and tucked most of the rest of the junk food away to be doled out slowly over the next couple weeks. They're off school tomorrow due to the vicious cold, so they'll each get something tasty for a snack, too. I'll probably make cornbread and beans for lunch. I've never had grits before, so that will be something new to try!

I didn't see a lot of the people I usually see while I'm there. I know that a lot of them pretty much depend on the stuff they get at the food pantry, especially the elderly. I wish there was a way to deliver their boxes to them :/ I know there are a couple people out by me, but I don't know exactly where they live (and, obviously, the folks who run the pantry aren't going to share that information) or I would have picked them up or brought their boxes to them. I wonder if there is a feasible way to do a delivery for those who can't drive/go out in the cold/are too ill to come themselves. I will talk to the director next time I go. (I used to volunteer there, packing boxes, and between that and going there, I know everyone quite well.) I'm pretty sure the idea has been considered and rejected already, but you never know. Maybe I can help them help at least a few people.

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