Hunger Is Not a Disease

Motel 19

Everyone coming to a pantry travels down a path.  For many, this journey is a real load lightener.  As the finances erode, the house goes.  And, of course, when the house goes, everything that was in it goes too.

Furniture, kitchen stuff, toys, clothes, tools, garden implements.  By the time a person or family gets to Motel 19, things have slimmed down to a few clothes, a blanket or two, a hot plate, or maybe an electric skillet or microwave.

For the families living in Model 19, the children are usually eligible for the school breakfast and/or lunch program.  But, that doesn’t cover eating at home.  And, there’s no lunch program for the adults.

So…it’s off to the pantry.

Several families usually pile in a car and come over for an afternoon of pantry shopping.  Or, an individual hitch hikes.  In order for this trip to succeed, several guidelines to follow will help:

Try to arrive an hour or so before the pantry opens.  This makes for a long wait but there’s more of a selection right when the pantry opens.  Also, while waiting in line, there’s an opportunity to make new friends and learn a few survival skills if you’re new to the pantry experience.

Bring your own shopping bags.  Some pantries don’t have enough of these much needed items.

Bring some ID.  Some pantries require much:  picture ID, proof of address, proof that other household members exist.  This can be a bit tough if you’re homeless.  Hint:  some pantries require little to no identification

Be prepared to wait in a line.  Use this time to meet your line neighbors.  They can be helpful if you’re trying to navigate your way through DSS, if you’re being foreclosed upon, need your car repaired, etc.

As you wait in line, try to learn how the pantry works from those around you in the line.  You’ll want to know how long you’ll be in the shopping room, what foods are usually on the shelves, what other pantries the people in line shop at, etc.

Don’t be afraid to let people know you’ve never been to a pantry.

Once you find a pantry you can use, go every time you’re allowed.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have a pantry in your area which will allow weekly visits.  Because pantry shopping takes so much time, shoppers sometimes just don’t go if they still have SNAP card money or if they have a few bucks left over from a paycheck.  Your best bet is to go every week.

Why?  Most pantries have different food every week and you may miss out on some real savings by not attending regularly.

Pantry shopping requires a totally new approach to cooking.  So does cooking with only an electric skillet or microwave.

Some pantries have periodic visits from a nutritionist.  Don’t be shy about asking him/her for any tips you might need to help this adjustment a bit easier for you.  Nutritionists  know a lot about the food you are now trying to cook with and they can answer any questions you might have.

Thanks for reading this blog post.

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PS:  This book is at the publisher’s now.  It will be available SOON!  You can order it at http://www.thurmangreco.com.

Thanks,

Thurman Greco

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