Helping Neighbors with Blessing Boxes

So for those of you that live in San Diego, one of our local Methodist Churches (The one in Santee-8964 Magnolia Ave, Santee, CA 92071) has a Blessing Box where neighbors can put food, toiletries, diapers, formula, etc. to share with neighbors who are in need but can’t make it to the local food bank for whatever reason. It was started last year. You can read more about it here and see some pictures.
I try to stop by every few weeks and put some stuff from our pantry in it. I pick up a few extra items at the grocery store (or 99 Cents Only or Grocery Outlet) when I shop each week. Instant oatmeal, canned soup, tuna, or beans with a pop-top (in case someone doesn’t have access to a can opener).
When I walked to the blessing box this AM there were 4 packets of oatmeal, some citrus fruit, and a fleece blanket (in the grocery bag).
I quickly scoured my car for everything I had. I didn’t have a lot extra in my trunk, but I emptied it of all of the food I had- I even went through the kid’s Snack bag that is for “emergency car snacks”.
IMG_8728.jpgHere is what it looked like after I put in my donation. I picked up a package of wipes from Huggies at a bloggers summit a few weeks back. I hadn’t yet opened it, so I added it to the Blessing Box.  I know that this box gets utilized by a lot of locals with great frequency. I will be back to add more groceries tonight.
Some of you may have Little Free Pantries or Free Food Boxes in your area too. If not, it’s easy to start one! Many local schools also have a food pantry for kids whose families face food insecurity. Santana High School has one!
My call to action for you is this:
  1. Look into your pantry and pick out 5 things you can live without. They must be in date and something someone actually wants to eat (I’m looking at you, jar of cocktail onions).
  2. Find someone in need. Add it to your local Little Free Pantry, post it on a neighborhood forum, a local parents group, or donate it to your local school food pantry.
  3. Give freely and with love.
  4. Repeat.
I know that most of us have grocery budgets. Imagine if we all cut $5 out of our budget and bought 5 (or more) items to share with a neighbor in need- That would go really far to help hungry families!
If you aren’t sure what to donate, here are a few suggestions:
  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Powdered Milk, beverage mixes (like shelf stable juice concentrate, instant coffee, hot cocoa pouches)
  • Infant Formula (The sample sized canisters or sample pouches that you may have received free in the mail are perfect donations!)
  • Toiletries and hygiene items
 I can’t wait to hear about how you’ve helping a neighbor!

Free Diapers at Vons!

Yeah, That’s right!!  FREE DIAPERS!

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.04.51 PM.pngGot a Vons card? Click here or log on to the Vons App, and click on baby care under just4U to see if you have an offer for free diapers!

If you don’t have babies, please consider picking it up and donating it to your local Food bank, a neighbor or friend with a little one, or your churches nursery.

Diapers make a great baby shower gift!!

Money Saving Tips for Parents!

With the arrival of Bitty Bird, saving money has never been more important for our family. Here are just a few ways we save money and earn rewards! Kids are expensive, that’s a fact of life! With coupons, shopping sales, and the myriad of programs that manufacturers run to entice and keep consumers coming back, you will never pay full price for anything baby or kid related again!


Diapers:
Huggies and Pampers both have a long running loyalty programs. Each package of diapers and wipes contains a code that can be entered on the manufacturer’s website. Codes are worth points, and those points can be redeemed for gift cards, toys, even free diapers and wipes! Depending on the size of the package, the amount of points varies. Larger packages yield more points. Visit Huggies and Pampers websites to learn more each program and the amount of points that can be earned from each package. Make sure to sign up for their newsletters too. Codes are sometimes in the newsletters too.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.18 AMFrom Left to Right: Sample Pampers and Huggies Codes found in diaper and wipe packages.

Some stores (Target, Babies R’ Us, and Walgreens to name just two) allow you to stack a manufacturer coupon and store coupon.  Frequently Target has printable store coupons on their website.
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.12 AMTarget store coupon from Target.com/coupons

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.43.31 AMFormula: For those that will be formula feeding their baby, three of the major formula manufacturers (Enfamil, Similac, and Gerber Good Start) offer high value coupons and/or formula checks and usually samples. Formula checks can be defined as a combination of coupon and an item specific gift certificate. They look like checks and are usually for a high value. Retailers accept them and deposit them like the checks you write from your own checkbook. The formula manufacturers honor the check and the retailer receives the face value of the formula check. Many stores allow you to pair a formula check with a coupon for even more savings.  Target allows you to use a formula check, a manufacturer coupon and a target coupon!

If you are interested in receiving samples and formula checks, visit the infant formula websites and sign up:

Once your baby is old enough to eat baby food, Gerber will send you coupons for cents and dollars off jars of baby food and snacks (like puffs and yogurt melts). Sign up with Beechnut and they will send you some great coupons for rice cereal, baby food and snacks.

Clothing, Toys, and misc. baby stuff: Babies need a lot of STUFF.  If you have friends or relatives with babies, you may receive a lot of hand me downs, and that is great.  It will save you a lot of money and time.  Another cost saving measure is to visit consignment shops tailored to babies and kids. Most consignment shops buy and trade clothes, toys, and furniture. Craigslist is also a great choice! Learn more about clothing swaps and consignment shops here.

Before buying or accepting a carseat, crib, stroller, or baby carrier, check to make sure that it has not been a part of a recall. In the case of carseats and bases, check to make sure the carseat is not expired. Carseats are safe for 5 years.  After that time, the components can break down, the plastic can weaken,  the straps can stretch and no longer hold in the child safely.

When your child grows into the next size, you can take the outgrown clothes to a consignment shop and exchange the outgrown clothes for new (to you!) baby clothes.  We have done that with Little Mans’ clothes since he was little tiny, and it’s a great way to save money! I recently saved up a bunch of store credit at our local baby consignment store so I could purchase a new to us Baby Ergo infant carrier. They can be pretty pricey, so I was saving my credit wisely. I turned outgrown clothing and toys into something that we needed!!