Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frugal Tip: Food (when you are really falling on hard times)

About a month or two after JRC was born, lots of things popped up. His hospital bills were triple than what we were planning, our mortgage went up (not adjustable, they needed money in escrow. It should go back down soon.), I couldn't breast feed him (even with a pump) and had to buy formula, brought him to several doctors, MLC was sick a lot and had to be brought to the doctor's often, she had the tubes put in, etc. I think in about a two months time we paid $300 in doctor visits between the both of them (at $25 a visit, that's a lot of visits!). So we were having a hard time making ends meet. We found out about a non profit organization, Angel Food Ministries, in about October last year. We felt better about it than we would have to ask our church for food, because here we were paying for it. They put together a package and it's a weeks worth of dinners for four and a couple of breakfast items for $30. They do not check income levels. Everyone is welcome to participate. We order two weeks and supplement the rest. They also have other packages like senior/convenience meals which are already prepared, fruits and veggie boxes, and grill boxes. It's not that healthy some of the time, but if you are having a hard time buying groceries, you need to eat! We get shelf stable milk with it and we put it in our emergency kits and use it in cereal when it's approaching its expiration date. Even if you don't need their services, they do take donations. Hopefully we don't need them for much longer. I don't want to take advantage of them. I think we gave ourselves a year and a half and it's looking like we might make that goal now that I'm getting better with the coupons.
Just to give you an example, here is this month's menu:
1.5 lb Rib eye steaks (3 x 8 oz)
1.81 lb (avg.) Perdue Tray Pack Split Chicken Breast (2 large breasts)
4 lb. chicken thighs
1.5 lb Pork Chops (4 x 6 oz)
1 lb 80/20 lean ground beef
1.5 lb 100% White Meat Turkey Burgers (4 x 6 oz)
12 oz Deli Ham
1 lb Frozen Sweet Potatoes
1 lb Frozen Green Beans
15 oz Pears
12 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
3 lb bag Fresh Idaho Potatoes
2 lb bag Fresh Onions
32 oz 2% Shelf Stable Milk
Dozen Eggs
Dessert Item

This month's looks pretty good, but sometimes we get a lot of fried stuff. Like last month we got chicken nuggets and fish sticks.

They are also taking pre orders for a Thanksgiving box for $36. You can buy a box to give to a family in need. I don't know if they find someone or if you have to find a family, but if you are interested you can find a local church that is doing it and ask them. To order any of the specialty boxes you have to order one of either the Signature Box (above), Senior/Convenience Meals, or Frozen and Dry Mix Allergen-Free Food Box (I don't know much about gluten, but I think this is a gluten free box. It tells you what things are battered in so if you need it, check it out). To buy the Thanksgiving box, you don't need to buy a regular box. They also take food stamps if anyone gets that.

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