Free Food Resources for October 2021 (San Diego County)

A new month means that it’s time for the monthly update of free food resources in San Diego.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for October 2021 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

Free Food Resources for September 2021 (San Diego County)

A new month means that it’s time for the monthly update of free food resources in San Diego.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

If you are located outside San Diego County, call 211. If you are not familiar with 211, here is their website and it can point you in the right direction.

San Diego Food Bank Distributions for September 2021 can be found here. Enter your address (or just your zip code) and the map will show you all of the distributions in your area or closest to you. You can filter by the days of the week to find food when you are available. If there is an income requirement/limit to participate, each location/listing will say such.

Neighbor distributions are intermixed with the San Diego Food Bank Distributions, however, they have no income requirements, and you come as you are. These Distributions are primarily fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide). The San Diego Foodbank website also has resources for Diaper banks, free food resources for seniors, and more.

All kids in public school K-12 in the State of California are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches at school. More information can be found here

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

A Shift in Mindset: Being Cheap Versus Being Frugal

The last Monday of the school year (back in June), after I dropped the kids at their respective schools, I went to Target. I bought curtains. Now, for those who either know me in real life, or I’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that prior to blogging full-time, one of the jobs I had in the past was a historical costumer. So I know how to sew.

Why did I buy curtains? I’m frugal.

Let me explain. I got really nice curtains for each kid kids bedroom. They are 63 inches long, they are black-out curtains meaning that they are treated with white plastic that once the curtains are closed at no light filters through. Each curtain panel was $11. So for two sets of curtains, they cost after taxes about $46. Which is decent. I could not walk into a fabric store and buy all the supplies I need it for two sets of curtains for the same amount of money.

For $46, I saved myself about two hours’ worth of measuring, cutting, and sewing. Plus a trip to the fabric store. For those of you who have been to a fabric store lately, you know how dangerous it is once you get in there. So many new ideas, craft supplies, cool fabric. And I try to have willpower, but I do love to make things.

I could have in theory found cheap fabric either at the fabric store or at Walmart, or I could’ve even gone to a thrift store and look for fabric, or old sheets. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted something that looked nice I wanted something or I wouldn’t have to spend hours getting something done just to save a few bucks. And that’s the difference between being cheap, and being frugal.

Everyone’s heard the old adage “Time is money“. And it’s true. Even though I may work at home, it doesn’t mean that my time is not worth anything. When I do paying gigs, no matter what they are, I won’t take them if I feel that my time is not being compensated well enough. And for this, new curtain project, I felt that $46 was well spent.

Now I know not everyone has extra money lying around to do whatever project that is looming on your horizon. There are other ways you can flex your frugal muscles.

  • If it’s a sewing project, you can go through your fabric stash if you have one, you can find coupons online for fabric if you wanna make your own project.
  • Look online and see if there are discounts available or deals or sales on whatever your project item is.
  • Check your local buy nothing group online.
  • Hit up your local thrift store. I have gotten many good pairs of sheets sets, bedding, and even curtains at thrift stores. A lot of people change out their curtains every year and wash and donate their “old“ curtains to a thrift store. My bedroom curtains came from the Goodwill in my town. And I paid less than $10 for both of the curtains. And they’re beautiful and I love them.

Prior to hitting up Target, for the past month, I’d kept my eyes open anytime I went out to a thrift store, or when I was out shopping to see if there were curtains that were perfect for our needs. I was not successful.  So instead of continuing the search even longer for something secondhand, I bit the bullet and spent $46. Because to me, getting a project done and checked off my to-do list for $46, was worth it. I didn’t need to keep going to thrift stores every week, trying to find the perfect set of curtains or the perfect fabric.

Frugality versus cheapness is something that goes beyond purchasing home goods. Let’s look at groceries. I know back in the heyday of couponing, a lot of people would go from store to store to store to stock up on deals and bargains. I will admit that back before I had kids I would do that. Because I had lots of free time. But now that I have two kids, my free time is limited.

And couponing is not what it used to be. So I shop at the same stores every week. Unless something is free, I tend not to deviate from my usual shopping. I shop at three stores. Which, seems like a lot, however, two of the stores are in the same shopping center, right next-door to each other. And I buy specific stuff at each store because it’s the only place to find what I want within my budget. So every week I head to $.99 only, Grocery Outlet, and usually Food 4 Less.

This is just some of what we get each week!

We get our CSA box every week for $25. And it’s an amazing deal. It saves me both time in that I don’t have to try to go to two or three grocery stores that have decent produce to find exactly what I want, and it saves me money. A $25 produce box has everything we need for the entire week. And I am able to use what is in that box to plan my weekly menu. We seldom have waste from our CSA box. And what we don’t eat by the end of the week just gets rolled over into the next week. In the past, I was spending half or more of a grocery budget each week on produce, and half the time it was too much, and it will go bad or I would have to stash it in the freezer. I still stash veggies and fruit in the freezer, but not to such a large extent.

Another thing that for me is frugal but not cheap is Dream Dinners. Granted, Dream Dinners can cost upwards of $250 plus a month for a minimum order. And that’s either 12 dinners that serve 2 to 3 people each or six large dinners that are for 4 to 6 people each. I like Dream Dinners because from the time you start cooking to the time dinner is on the table it’s 45 minutes or less in most cases.

And there are times when I’ve had a long day and it’s just been so crazy that I don’t want to cook. But instead of going through the drive-through, ordering a pizza, I can just pull out one of our dream dinners and have food that’s ready to eat in 45 minutes or less. There are no difficult directions, and the food is always delicious. And one order with 12 medium meals is enough for a month for us.

I tend to use them on nights where I know that I’m going to want something that’s quick, something that’s easy. Dream Dinners are cheaper than take out for our family. If I was to do take out 2 to 3 times a week every month that would be upwards of $600. That’s based on an average of what we usually order when we get takeout.

These are just a few examples of how I am frugal. Obviously, these may not be the ways that you save time vs. doing it the cheapest way. Everyone has ways that saves time and money, and I’d love to hear from you!

Fresh Fruit and Veg Delivered to Your Door with Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

A bunch of you saw my unboxing pics on Instagram yesterday of my  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, and the incredible large bouquet of flowers.

The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Fuji Apples
  • Navel oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Salad Mix
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Russet Potatoes

 

 

And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.

Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!

No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).

If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.

What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:

  • Last night we had roasted asparagus.
  • I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
  • I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
  • I made a Marinated Salad
  • Tomorrow I’ll make a big fruit salad for a few upcoming meals
  • I’m planning on making a big baking sheet of roasted veggies for lunch- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram!

The strawberries got gobbled up last night at dinner.

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month will kinds of recipes and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For more information on Yasukochi Family FarmYasukochi Family Farms, check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook.

Food Resources for February 2021 (San Diego County)

I’ve decided to put together a monthly round-up of food resources for San Diego County.

You can still find resources here for Central and East County, and Here for North County.

Neighborhood Distributions for February 2021:

These Distributions are primarily produce/fruits & veg, however, some locations may also distribute canned goods, dairy, and bread.

Super Pantry Locations can be found here (this listing is countywide).

If you have a child attending public school in San Diego County, check to see if your school distributes free lunches daily.

In Eastern San Diego County, Grossmont Union High School District schools are distributing lunches to kids ages 2-18, Monday through Friday at various times (Check your closest school to find out exact times and locations within each school). They also do Pizza Fridays, where each kid receives a pizza, drink, salad, plus food to be eaten over the weekend. It is definitely more than enough food to keep kids fed over the weekend.

 

If you know of other resources, please leave a comment! And feel free to share this post with anyone you may know in need.

 

 

 

 

Neighborhood Produce Distributions for 2021

I’ve written about the San Diego Food Bank’s Neighborhood Distributions before. It’s a great way to stretch your food budget on what is usually the most expensive part of any family grocery trip: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.

The 2021 schedule has been updated. The website has changed and now they publish a monthly calendar, which you can see here. As you can see, there is at least 1 distribution per week somewhere in the county all month long.

The Neighborhood Food Distribution Program distributes fresh produce and nonperishable food items at 19 distribution sites every month throughout San Diego County. The majority of the food distributed at these sites is fresh produce – fresh fruits and vegetables. ANYONE can receive food at a Neighborhood Distribution Program site. Identification cards ARE NOT required. There are NO INCOME restrictions for this program.

Most of these locations offer a drive-up/drive-through service. Pull in, queue up, and when you get to the front of the line, pop your trunk and volunteers will put the food into your car and you are ready to go.

If you have further need for food, there are many programs that can help you all over the county. Check out my post here for food resources in Central/South/Eastern San Diego County and here for Northern San Diego County.

San Diego, CA Area Residents: FREE Produce! Tomorrow, August 7, 2020

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It’s Back!! Our friends over at Faith Chapel understand that with all that’s going on in the world that some of us still need help finding healthy food during this difficult time. And that’s it not always safe for us to go to the store or hit up a farmers market. This is going to be the last produce distribution at Faith Chapel for the next few weeks. Once it is back on, I will let you know ASAP!

Distribution is happening this Friday, August 7th,  beginning at 10:00am.

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. This week they are getting 1 truckload of produce delivered, so they will be only be given 1 box of produce to each vehicle.  BUT- Trust me- That’s plenty of quality produce for one family.

Here is an example of what was offered in previous weeks: unnamedNavel Oranges, Grapefruit, Plumcots, Lemons, and nectarines. All free.

Faith Chapel is located at 9400 Campo Road Spring Valley, CA 91977

2020 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

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I am usually sooo much more on top of these free lunch posts, but…well, life has been a little crazy around here, and all over the world.

Better late than never, so, here we go. In past years schools, libraries, and community centers have hosted these free lunches, this year, however, the list of facilities has decreased.

GUHSDIf you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

table of hopeAnd if you are in need of food for your entire family, but you find yourself not qualifying for P-EBT or other social services, I recommend that you check out Facebook. There are tons of local groups of neighbors getting together setting up Tables of Hope. In San Diego, there are several. Tables of Hope are small groups of neighbors that have set up food distribution tables within neighborhoods to help those who might be experiencing food insecurity.

Churches and community organizations are offering free food distributions that require no proof of need, like Faith Chapel in Spring Valley. They are offering free produce each Friday through mid-August. You can find out more info here.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

San Diego, CA Area Residents: FREE Produce! This Friday, June 19th

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Our friends over at Faith Chapel understand that with all that’s going on in the world that some of us still need help finding healthy food during this difficult time. And that’s it not always safe for us to go to the store or hit up a farmers market.

For the next NINE (9) weeks, Faith Chapel is offering FREE Fresh produce straight from the farmers to give to you! Distribution is happening this Friday, June 19th, beginning at 10:00am.

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. Take as much as you’d like! Tell your family and friends!

Here is an example of what was offered last week: unnamedNavel Oranges, Grapefruit, Plumcots, Lemons, and nectarines. All free.

Faith Chapel is located at 9400 Campo Road Spring Valley, CA 91977

Food Bank Resources in Northern San Diego County

DSCN2469A few years back, I wrote this post, which I update about once a year with information on Food Banks/Food Pantries and food co-ops in San Diego County. Considering san Diego County is larger than some New England states, I decided to dedicate a post purely to North County food resources, as I have been getting requests for those lately. Thanks to my friends Elizabeth, Kate, Yvonne, and Stephanie for assisting me with the research!

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North County Neighborhood Distribution Sites 2020

There are of course the Neighborhood Distribution sites from The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. There are no requirements or proof of need (no ID either).  Just bring a few reusable bags or a cart to carry your food home.

Learn more about Neighborhood Distributions here. The 2020 Calendar of Neighborhood Distributions can be found here.

If you live in Escondido or Oceanside, check out the Interfaith Community Services Website for information on food.

In Encinitas:

  • The Community Resource Center has Bread distribution and other food distributions several times a week. More information can be found here.

In Vista:

  • North County’s Food Bank 1175 Melrose Way, Vista, CA, 92081 (760) 761-1140 The Emergency Food for Individuals program is direct food assistance available to needy individuals. Program is available every first, third and fifth Monday of the month.
  • Food Distribution at Lamb of God Food Bank 1120 Highland Dr, Vista, CA 92083 (760) 458-4655 every Tuesday and Thursdays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

In San Marcos:

  • Summit Church 292 E. Barham Dr., San Marcos, CA 92078 760.471.6267 or office@summitsanmarcos.comArrive: 11:00 am, food distribution: 12:00 p – 1:00 pm

    Summit hosts a farmers market-style free food outreach 2x per month!
    Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday of every month, they give 25 lbs of food to anyone
    in need in the front parking lot. Everyone is welcome; there are no requirements!

In Ramona:

  • Ramona Food and Clothes Closet Each 3rd Friday of the month, a truck will bring perishable food items like produce to the store for distribution.  You do not need to qualify for this program.   Patrons are asked to line up before 9:00 AM in an orderly fashion and wait their turn.  

    Each person will receive approximately 20-25 pounds of food per family.  It is a first-come, first-serve basis.  You will need to bring your own bags or rolling carts.

Feeding American San Diego has a map on their website of various resources in the San Diego area, many of them require no proof of need or paperwork.

If you have any food resources to share, please leave a comment!