Hunger Is Not a Disease

And Now…the Drive After the Food Drive: Items of Dignity!

People needing to use a food  pantry because they don’t have enough $$$,  certainly don’t have resources for things like toothpaste, shampoo, razors, tampons, and other Items of Dignity.

There is something we can do about this little-known situation:

Hold an Items of Dignity drive.  Actually, this is easier than a food drive because everyone seems to know what an item of dignity is.

People know what food is too, but some get confused about what is a good food item for a pantry.  What about fresh produce?  Is frozen food okay? are often asked questions during a food drive.

Items of Dignity don’t get stale.  They don’t need refrigeration.

Actually, you hold an Items of Dignity drive the same way you hold a food drive:  Gather your bags together, write your letter, and put them out in front of houses in the neighborhood you choose.

For more information about holding a food drive, please check out the last two posts.  They reveal all the secrets.

When you donate these items to your chosen food pantry, the volunteers will be delighted.

If you are worried about having an Items of Dignity drive because the people may not need the items, don’t bother to worry.  Right now,  in our country, hunger reaches into all communities.  Hunger is affecting people who never thought they would ever need food.

The items you collect and donate will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for all you are doing.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please refer it to your preferred social media network.    Share it with a friend, neighbor, relative.

Thurman Greco



P.S. Please let me know how your food drive is going.

Hunger and Healing for Ourselves and our Planet During this Spring Solstice

Throughout the month, and especially on March 19th, whenever you find a time and place that fits your schedule…sit quietly for a few moments and visualize a world where positive renewal and growth exists for all beings.

Invite adequate housing, nutritious food, and reliable quality healthcare to become a reality for  all.

Plant spiritual seeds to nurture goals and dreams of everyone.  Reflect on all the wonderful opportunities available in our world for growth and hope throughout our planet.

Spend a moment including  goals for housing and food and healthcare for those who have insufficient resources

Honor the mystical and magical change of seasons creating space for the spiritual growth for everyone.

Check in with yourself now.  Give your spirit the support it needs and seeks to bring housing, nutrition, and good health to everyone on our planet.

Quiet your mind as you bathe in this new energy created by spring.  Invite universal balance, and abundance into our world.

May all beings on this planet live and thrive in peace and harmony.

Thank you for reading this Meditation.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thanks again

Thurman Greco.


Have You Applied for SNAP?

Have you, or has someone you know, applied for SNAP? SNAP is about all that’s left in the way of assistance for people as welfare shrinks and shrinks.

SNAP is important for you and your household because you’ll be able to get more food with your SNAP card and you won’t be hungry anymore. This can translate to better health.

Are there more days in your month than money? Are you a senior who has outlived your pension, savings, or ability to hold down a job. Statistics tell us that one senior in seven doesn’t get enough to eat. SNAP is one successful way to help your situation.

If you have trouble buying food, now is a good time to apply. If you’ve applied in the past and were denied, maybe you need to apply again. You may, after all, have answered a question incompletely or incorrectly and were denied this benefit because of it. Try again. You might do better this time around, especially if you or someone in your house is disabled or is a senior with medical expenses.

You may be reluctant to apply for SNAP because you don’t know if you are eligible. Or, maybe you applied in the past but were denied. Maybe even you don’t know how to apply and are overwhelmed by the application. You might even have never heard of SNAP and think of it as food stamps.

SNAP is a debit card which offers privacy and is easy to use in grocery stores. If you don’t want anyone to know you receive SNAP, they won’t. Once you are approved, your SNAP allotment will be renewed monthly.

One thing: If you work, you need to know how to meet the work requirements. Some information is needed for you to apply successfully for SNAP. This information comes in several categories.

Proof of income is necessary. You can use pay stubs, social security income information.

Are you a senior? You are eligible for SNAP. If you are a senior, please apply for SNAP benefits. You worked all your life, paid your taxes, contributed to the economy. It’s time to benefit from all of the contributions you made throughout your life.

Identification is needed. This might be a state ID, passport, birth certificate.

Bills help. Bring your medical, heating, water, auto, rent bills.

Your social security number and the numbers of everyone in your household are necessary.

Dependent care costs will help. These include day care costs, child support, being an attendant for a disabled adult.

Contact your local Department of Social Services office for application assistance. If this doesn’t work, contact your Office on Aging or Catholic Charities.

SNAP is important for you if you’re having trouble buying groceries. SNAP helps you pay for the food you need to live a healthy life. When you eat healthier food, you will prevent and control some chronic health issues. This will lower your medical bills.

SNAP is important for your community, too, because when you are able to get food with SNAP, you’ll have cash available to use to pay your rent or buy gas to get back and forth to work.

SNAP is also good for your community because the allotment on your SNAP card brings outside money to your community. The money you bring into your local economy helps farmers, grocers, and local businesses.

When you buy groceries with SNAP, you are not taking money away from someone else who might need it more. There are enough SNAP dollars for everyone.

You can still shop at a food pantry if you are eligible for SNAP.

Get SNAP today!

Be well.

Thurman Greco

Thank you for reading this article.  Please refer it to your favorite social media network.

Guy Oddo- The Story of a Volunteer

“I heard you need volunteers. I’m here.”

The man standing at the door of the food pantry room on that gorgeous afternoon in April was short, probably weighed less than 125 pounds, and had a deep voice. Guy looked to be a little younger than me so that put him in his 60’s. Since I’m terrible at guessing ages, I had no idea whether he was about 61 or about 69. I only knew he was too young to be 70..

I had no idea, no premonition, about Guy Oddo being important in the pantry. I completely overlooked the vibe of this momentous event. I always did that. And then, later, I would remember the moment and comment to myself about how, I was never, ever aware of its importance. And, setting eyes on Guy was no exception.

Guy Oddo was destined to become the food pantry hallway czar.

And, it’s just as well. If I’d been aware of what was happening at that moment, I would’ve gotten all excited and jittery and he would have wandered off thinking to himself that he didn’t want to get mixed up with pantry volunteers where a ditzy old cotton top woman hung out.

“Thanks for coming in! Can you greet the shoppers in the hallway today?” As I said this, I took the sign in sheet off a shelf in the pantry room and handed it to him. Since the beginning of my time in the pantry, no one had been specifically assigned to this task. I just handed over the sign in sheet to anybody who would accept it and asked them to sign in the shoppers. If no one was available, I did it myself while I distributed the groceries.

My thought at that moment was that if this man, Guy, who just walked in the door, would hand around awhile, I could, maybe, hopefully, put him in charge of the list. I had handed this list to many would be volunteers over the months. So far, none of them was interested. This list was, incidentally, the single most important piece of paper in the pantry.

People signed their names when they shopped in the pantry. So the list counted the people. Shoppers also shared the members in their household. We always asked “How many children, adults, and seniors are in your household.”

Then, at the end of the month, I added up the totals and sent them off to the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). These totals were important. They pantry got food every month based on them.

Up to this moment, our list was more a lick and a promise than anything else. With no one person in charge of it, I felt we were losing names which meant we were losing food. More shoppers translated to more food.

As the afternoon wore on and Guy and I worked together, something about his voice convinced me he was going to be around more than a day or even a week, that he wanted a list to take care of.

As it turned out, he wanted not only the list but also the hungry shoppers located all over the place in the overcrowded church parking lot as they waited to get in the basement hallway and then to get in the pantry. The whopper population was made up of hungry people who, for the most part, had been on a spiritual path which ended outside the door of the pantry.

Misfortune was common in the hunger community. Some shoppers seemed to be beaten down by it. The thing I learned from seeing misfortune in action was that it can happen to anyone. The important thing was how they dealt with it. Some overcame misfortune while others were themselves overcome and lost their voices entirely.

“Hi. C’mon in. Sign in. I’ll call you as soon as your number comes up.” Guy greeted the shoppers.

Over time, Guy became the first to first to arrive and the last to leave on pantry day. He was combination greeter, concierge, information desk, hallway policeman, expediter, and director of personnel. And, just because…As I walked into the pantry room to distribute food, I handed him my cell phone. He took calls throughout the afternoon from troubled or inquiring shoppers.

Last, but certainly not least, he made me feel safe.

I never told anyone, but I had several experiences in the pantry and in the community that put fear on the front burner of my life. I knew, as a healer, that evil surrounded my presence in the pantry. Feeding hungry people without strings was not an acceptable philosophy for many people.

I came down on the side of feeding hungry people according to guidelines set down by the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Acceptance Program (HPNAP). Many in town definitely differed.

The bottom line was that I feared that the building committee of the church would shut the pantry down. For me, that would be a catastrophe because the hungry people simply had no place else to go for food.

So, there I was feeding hungry people in a small town food pantry in the basement of a church. Each week the line was longer than the week before. The wait to get in the pantry room to shop for two or three minutes was often an hour – in the broiling heat, the freezing cold, or a flooding rain.


He shopped in the pantry weekly and never uttered a word. His only message was embroidered on his baseball cap: Korean War Veteran.

This man who fought as a soldier in the brutal Korean conflict in the early 1950’s was now, as an old man, reduced to standing in a line for food.


“I live in my car. My wife is pregnant. We’ve got her in a woman’s shelter. I’m working two jobs to get the money together for the baby.”


“We’re really stressed out today. I don’t know where we’re going to go. We got evicted because I don’t have the money to pay the weekly camping fee. The woman next to us in the campground is almost as broke as we are but she gave me $5.00 for gas because we have to leave.”

Summer Came and Went. And a book signing…

Please join me.

You are invited to attend my Author’s Reading and book signing on Saturday morning, September 22nd at 10:00 am on the grounds of the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market.

Refreshments will be served.

School is starting.  And, once again, the focus of my life has adjusted itself.  Hunger takes us all to new places that we never thought we would go.

For me, I spent the past two years  writing my hunger book.  I felt as if I’d gone into a cave…a writer’s cave.  And, of course, with all this time in the cave, the inevitable finally  happened:  a book signing.

I finished the book!  Not only that, I’m working on the follow-on volume.  But, that’s getting off message.

A book signing is always appropriate in September.

Where?  I’m  selling the book at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market in Woodstock.  Somehow, I feel this was the logical direction I was headed from the first day:  a book signing.

I sell the book….and a lot more.  While selling  the book, people purchase other used books and gently used items to raise money for the hungry.

I’m selling items and collecting donations to buy peanut butter for a pantry which doesn’t have any on the shelves on the day I call the pantry.  Why peanut butter?

Peanut butter doesn’t need refrigeration.

It can be eaten by people who no longer have teeth.

Peanut butter has a generous shelf life.

For homeless people, peanut butter is a staple.

But, getting back to the basics,  people are dropping gently used items off at my home.  I wash them, or dust them off, and otherwise freshen them up and then take them to Mower’s Meadow on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays.

The prices are reasonable.  The items are really nice.  People fighting hunger are being  really generous.

Lucy and Erin made a wonderful banner for my booth so  people know what’s happening in the booth.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please refer it to your preferred social media network.

I look forward to seeing you at the Book Signing  at 10:00 on the 22nd!

Thurman Greco



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.

Please share this article with your favorite social media network.

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


Thurman Greco

The Pantry

Lord, thank You for the food pantry where I work.

And, Lord, thank You for the shoppers and volunteers I’ve come to know through our work here.

I ask You Lord, have patience as we learn to pray for one another and care for one another.  Our pantry work is a glorification of Your name as You work miracles in our midst.  Thank You for the difference You make in all our lives.

Lord, You teach us much in this pantry.  For starters, You’ve taught us that the hungry shall be fed – no matter what – no matter why – no matter who.

We experience what it means to be new as we learn what it’s like to work with, accept, and feel welcome – both the worthy and the unworthy.

We’re learning that we’re all Your people.  We are all accepted.  We are all holy.  We are all worthy.  The pantry is faith in action.


Thank you for reading this article!

Please share this post with your preferred social media network.

Thank you.

Thurman Greco

Making the Most of What You Get at the Food Pantry


More and more pantries offer fresh vegetables and fruits. A challenge sometimes is making it last when it gets to your kitchen. Following are a few tips to help keep the food better. Even though it’s only going to be around for a day or two before you eat it, you want it to look its best, taste its best, and have the most nutrients possible.

Store LETTUCE, SALAD GREENS, and MUSHROOMS in a refrigerator on the middle or lower shelf away from fans because these items freeze quickly.
CUCUMBERS suffer from chill damage. You’ll have better luck with them if you store them on an upper shelf or on the door of the refrigerator.
CITRUS FRUITS release ethylene gas so it’s best to separate CITRUS FRUITS, MELONS AND APPLES away from delicate foods such as LETTUCE.
Some fruits and vegetables should not be refrigerated: BANANAS, GRAPEFRUITS, LEMONS, LIMES, MANGOES, MELONS, ORANGES, PAPAYAS, POTATOES, ONIONS, TOMATOES, AND AVOCADOS all do better when stored on a counter top.
Ripening some fruits on a counter top is best: AVOCADOS, KIWI FRUIT, NECTARINES, PEACHES, PEARS, AND PLUMS. After these foods are ripe, you may choose to put them in the refrigerator.

When working with poultry, the wrapping should be completely unbroken with no punctures.
Raw poultry should have a fresh smell with no odor. It should be firm to the touch. It should not be sticky. There should be no discoloration. The internal temperature of raw poultry should be lower than 40F degrees.
Poultry should be stored separately from all other foods. It should be kept on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to prevent contamination from dripping.
Anything that comes in contact with poultry or its juices should be cleaned and sanitized immediately.
Frozen poultry should have no soft spots.
Partially thawed poultry should be used immediately.
Poultry cannot be kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
Wash hands immediately after handling poultry.

Milk stays fresh up to six days past the sell-by date. Frozen milk can be stored longer.
If milk sours, use it in a baking recipe calling for buttermilk.
Sour milk is not unsafe to drink.

COTTAGE CHEESE, YOGURT, SOUR CREAM, AND CREAM CHEESE are considered to be cultured products with a longer shelf life than milk. If the container is open, cultured products can be used up to six weeks past the sell-by date.

Thank you for reading this book/blog.
Please share this article on your preferred social media network.
Please send a comment.
Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco

Prayer for the Hungry – Number 2


O Heavenly Father

I offer You gratitude for all Your blessings and love which You continually share with parents struggling with underemployment, poor health, insufficient food, transportation challenges.

I ask You, the source of all living things, to protect and guard parents who shop at the pantry.

Help them listen to their children’s needs as they struggle to live a life with insufficient resources… time, money, housing, health care.

Offer the peace which can only come when they know that You are a part of their lives every day.

O Heavenly Father, help them overcome their greatest fear – hunger.

Guide their lives so that no one in their household is hungry.

Encourage them to see the positive aspects of their lives.

Teach them to co-create abundance

Give them the courage to reach out when their needs are overwhelming.

Let them know that  they can be secure in their paths.

Teach them to travel through their lives with grace.

Offer them the wisdom they need to hear Your guidance.

When, if…they question the struggle, please let them know You are with them always.

Please, gently touch their lives with your healing hands when health issues become almost too much to bear.

I ask these things in Jesus’ name.



Thank you for reading this blog dedicated to food pantries.

Please share this prayer on your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, NY

Art Work  donated by Jennette Nearhood









Hunger is Not a Disease


FullSizeRender-1-300x278This week’s post is not going to happen.

There will be no new articles until after the first week in January because I am working on my reflexology book.

Thank you for your patience.  This is a project which I must finish.

I wish you a truly joyful and abundant new year!

Thurman Greco