Using Community Food Banks, Co-Ops and Low Income Food Stores.

So shopping day on broke week always sucks. Especially when lately, that’s every week.
On occasion I make use of our local discounted food co-op and last time for $45.50 was able to get enough food to feed us for a week. Now before you all jump down my neck about it being for desperate homeless people, let’s go through what it is all about.

Heavily reduced food banks, stores and co-ops are run by non profit organisations to assist those on a low income support themselves and their family. They make use of food that would otherwise end up in landfill because the supermarkets won’t keep it. For example, yesterdays bread, food with “Best Before” dates getting close or produce that has marks or is not of uniform shape.

The one I visit regularly uses the profits of the co-op to run their local soup kitchen and homeless assistance programs.

I believe there has been a stigma of shame put on people making use of these wonderful community services. I have seen people feat their two year old two minute noodles for weeks before they would visit somewhere like this? And why? Because they feel embarrassed.

This is silly for two reasons. One, anyone who looks down on you for doing what is needed to put food on the family table is no friend and their opinion is irrelevant. Two, do you need to tell them anyway? I bet none of my friends know (or care) where my tomatoes came from.

Supporting these organisations keeps them running. If people stop showing up they close down and as mentioned above, these services often fund important programs that the community needs. Plus the environmental impact of keeping these perfectly usable groceries out of landfill.

Sometimes there are nice little extras they throw in for you. This week is was some little packets of lollies. It’s nice to be able to pop one into my husband’s lunchbox as a nice surprise for working so hard for us. I imagine there are a lot of people who would grab at those and want to take them all and that is not right, take only what you need and leave enough for everyone else. Other’s might say “if you are so broke you shouldn’t be eating lollies!”. True, but using these services allows us to have the occasional treat that we usually can’t afford and not feel like such a pauper.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are earning a six figure income, are saving for a world trip or genuinely don’t need the help then leave it for those that do, you can take yourself up to Aldi or Woolworths. But if you are struggling, on a low income, having a bad week/month/year/life. Then by all means, take advantage of the services available to you. It is what they are there for and by not using them means they will not be available for others who need it in the future, more food waste goes into landfill and the organisations need to find another way to raise funds for their wonderful programs.

So to summarise, my main point is, if you need to use these services to provide healthy meals for your family at a very cheap price then do it. Screw the haters, do what you need to do. They would be the same “friends” who would report you to Children’s Services for not feeding your kids right and unless they have offered to do your shopping for you then who cares what they think anyway. Best of all, you don’t even have to tell anyone anyway. It’s nobody’s business but yours.

You will find links to current assistance providers on my page under GETTING HELP. Please note that this section is currently under construction and continually being updated. If you can’t find what you need feel free to contact me and I will provide you with any other contacts that I have.

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