Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fill the Pantry Challenge!!

OK people, it's the holidays and I know that this time of year, most people are trying to find ways to contribute to their communities, churches, or schools... right? Well, why does that have to end with the holidays?

I have to admit, like most, I lose focus and don't really think about the many many families who go without unless there is a can drive, or a specific purpose to raise awareness, BUT... I am going to change that! Do you know that in New Bedford, MA there are more than 546 homeless families?!? That's right... not people... FAMILIES! This is based on the New Bedford Public Schools' figures. Let's pretend the average family is a family of 4...

4x546 = 2184 people homeless (excluding the homeless individuals)
2184/94,000 people in New Bedford (according to the last census)
= almost 2.5% of the population!!

Now, I know these figures are just estimates, but this is a HUGE problem!! A problem that is not going to be helped by supplying a family with a box of food that will barely last a week. So this is my challenge...
  1. Find a box, or a tote, or a spot in a closet or room that you can use to "stock".
  2. Put aside at least $1 a week to "Stock the Pantry"
  3. Now, each week use that $1 to buy an item of food (nonperishable) or if Peanut Butter is on sale, or you make a purchase greater than the $1... keep it to $4 dollars a month (more if you can afford it)
  4. If you have kids, give them the dollar and tell them they have to find something they like to put in the box. Let them take ownership of the box!! Get them involved!! If you have 2 kids, give them each a dollar or alot $2 a month to each box... whatever!
  5. Pretend that you are stocking up for a week, for a family of 4... what would you want to eat?
Now, next year when the food drives come... you are ready!! If you have a place of worship, charity or pantry that would like to donate to... GREAT!! If you aren't sure where to donate, I know that St. Lawrence, located at 110 Summer Street and Holy Family Holy Name School, at 91 Summer Street, would be more than happy to accept any donations that you have. If you live outside the area, I am sure that they are in need, as well!! Please, it doesn't take much to find a center that can distribute the food.

OR... you can have a special piggy bank that you can place $1 a week. This is money you can donate to help these programs; to allow them to purchase the food items that are still need at the end of the collection (i.e. Mayonnaise for the tuna and turkey, peanut butter is the every meal food, tomato sauce for a great multipurpose item)

Challenge your friends, your family, your coworkers!! This is a problem that these families are struggling with every single day. Maybe in the process in making my children aware and making the community more aware, we can help ease it a little. Why not ask your dentist, pediatrician, or real estate agent, etc to place a box for a collection? If you want to participate but are concerned about not being able to deliver the items, do it!

Remember, hunger isn't a religious, or racial, or political issue... it can effect anyone! It effects the young and the old. Please, don't decide not to help because it is a parish or place of worship that is collecting the items. These are the places that care for our community! They care for the people and families that so desperately need it.

*** I know that there are state funded programs, etc, but these are not working. The numbers continue to rise. The only way to start fixing problems is for everyone to come together and start with their neighborhoods, their communities, their local charities... we need to fix it!! Thank you for your help!!!
Happy Holidays!! I wish everyone a safe, healthy, happy holiday!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Merry Bah Humbug

That's pretty much how I feel right now. I can't wait for the holidays to arrive, but between the finances and stress that actually come with them, I could see them leaving without a second thought.

I've gotten almost all of my shopping done which means that now I have time to second guess every single purchase I made. Does anyone else do this?? I mean seriously, my kids are 3 and 5 and I'm thinking... "I hope they like the toys". These are the kids that fought viciously yesterday over a leave! Yes, a leave... well, actually some sort of bean thing that looks like a really big black green bean. I called it the music leave. lol

Anyway, Chef Hubby and I decided that from now on Christmas is not going to be a living room FULL of "stuff". We picked one big thing that they both will share, then a couple little things, an outfit to wear christmas day, and the ever important, Christmas Eve PJs. The Pj tradition we stole from one of aunts... but we cherish it.

So I am going to try to get the housework and work work done before Friday so that we can put up the christmas tree this weekend. I can't wait for the tree to go up. I was also going to start with the "Elf on a Shelf" this year, because I thought it was an awesome concept, but we will probably be doing our own version since the cute little guy with activity book is $30!!

Anyway... Merry Bah Humbug to all!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Looking for Recipes...Update

OK.. so I've been helping sort cans and boxes of food for families for Thanksgiving at my daughter's school for about a month. Every week we've been receiving mass loads of soups, mac and cheese, tuna, ramen, and chef boyrdee cans. It's crazy how many!! While packing them up the other day one of the mom's mentioned that its ridiculous how many canned goods we're going to be giving to these families. Seriously, have you ever thought about eating ravioli, tuna, and chicken noodle soup for just about every meal? Sounds dreadful, doesn't it?

Here we are loading them up on nonperishable foods that are loaded with salt and preservatives and virtually no nutritional value, right? So I decided to try to find alternative recipes for these items... so far, I've gotten quite a bunch

Country Chicken Chowder (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Cinnamon Snack Mix (Ramen Noodles)
Tuna Pot Pie (Tuna)
Pizza Casserole (Ravioli)

...just to name a few!! BUT I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions. I know that I haven't been keeping up with this blog and a bunch of my followers are gone, but if you could do me a favor and spread the word, that would be great! I am looking for quick, easy, family friendly, CHEAP meals you can use nonperishable foods to make.

Some other items that are in excess are pastas, tomato products, canned veggies, gravies, cake mixes... MAC n CHEESE... got it? So any recipes that you can offer would be great.

To make it worth your time and trouble, I will be doing a give away!! I have some small Pampered Chef items that I can throw together as incentive for a random drawing. Please send the recipes by November 14th so I have time to get them together for a booklet I want to put together for the families.

Thank you sooo much for your help!! Happy Holidays!

So far I've had only 2 people email me and one post on here... that makes the chances pretty good in the random selection!!! Last day to add recipes...
So the winner is... MaryAnn Gomes! BUT - since there were only 3 people who participated, I will be sending out a special PC treat to each of them!! Yay... holiday cheer to everyone :o)