For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you know that food insecurity is a cause near and dear to my heart.
In San Diego County, one in seven families experience food insecurity. Food insecurity means you’re not sure where your next healthy, nutritious meal is coming from. It means you probably don’t have extra cans in your cupboard, or that you need to be more than just a little creative when it comes to cooking that a few days before payday.
Food insecurity is an issue that I feel very strongly about. No one should be hungry, and no one should have to eat mass-produced, poorly made, food devoid of nutritional just to fill their belly. Quality, nutritious food should be available to anyone and everyone at an affordable price.
Porchlight Community Services is different from a lot of other food organizations in that they are a food rescue organization. They work with produce distributors, grocery stores, and bakery to rescue food that is otherwise destined for the dumpster.
Next time you’re at the grocery store take a look at all the fruit, all the produce, all the baked goods. The likelihood of all of those items will sell before their pull date is slim.
So when items are pulled off the shelf prior to their expiration date, they are frequently thrown in the trash. That trash heads to the landfill. Grocery store, bakeries, food distributors do not compost their unwanted food. Food rescue agencies like Porchlight Community Services pick up the food (that is still good, by the way, pull dates are usually arbitrary, and only affect the appearance of the food, not it’s quality or viability). They then take the food back to their offices where it is gone over to make sure that it is still quality, and edible. And it is been distributed to families who support Porchlight Community Servicesmission.
Produce that can not be distributed (it’s leftover at the end of the event), is often donated to neighbors with animals, or local animal organizations. Once again, eliminating food waste and helping others,
Porchlight Community Services is not your average food bank or pull date co-op. There is no minimum or maximum amount of money your family needs to make to participate. Some people who shop at Porchlight do so because they believe in the mission of keeping food out of landfills (like my family- it hurts my heart to see perfectly good food go to waste). Some people go to Porchlight Community Services because they are in need of wholesome nutritious groceries that fit a specialized diet (like Gluten-free or Dairy-free) but can’t afford to shell out money every week or two for the costly groceries at a mainstream grocery store. Some people are in a tight spot and need to stretch what little money they have until payday.
All funds that are raised go towards paying rent and utilities- to keep the Mission of feeding others going.
If you are interested in helping Porchlight Community Services, they are always looking for volunteers to help unload food as it comes in on distribution days, organize and stock shelves, refrigerators, and freezers.
They also need help volunteering with event prep- setting up tables and bins.
This might be a good opportunity for girl scout troops or other civic organizations! Contact Porchlight Community Serviceshere to find out about more volunteer opportunities.
One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review. It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!
Y’all know how much I love freebies, I post them at least once a week. There are a lot of sites out there that promise to deliver freebies, but fall short.
Here are my top five favorite freebie sites:
PinchMe– Answer a series of questions about your household and shopping habits in the Member Profile. They learn what you like and offer samples just for you.
Once you’ve had a chance to try your samples, complete a short feedback survey to tell Pinchme what you think of the samples. New samples are available once a month!
2.MySavings– MySavings updates their freebies and deals daily! I love the variety of samples they post. And if the offer is no longer valid, you just click the Expired button and notify them.
3. Social Nature- If you are into Organic/Natural/Healthy products, then Social Nature is up your alley. Sign up and apply to sample products that you are interested in. I get probably 1-2 products to sample each month. And most of the time it’s full-size products, not just a tiny sample.
4. Smiley360is a Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing website. Sign up for campaigns and you will receive samples to use, and coupons to share with friends. Report your sharing and earn points! I’ve received Laundry detergent (full-sized bottles), vitamins, supplements, tampons, and razors all in the last year.
5. Home Tester Club is pretty cool. They are one of my new favorites. You sign up to review items and they send you something. A lot of the time they don’t notify you prior to shipping, you’ll get a package in the mail and a few days later, you’ll get an email notifying you that you were selected and a link to the survey to complete once you have sampled the product. I’ve gotten a Changing Pad Cover, Flushable Wipes, Makeup Remover, and a moisturizer.
BONUS- Looking for some freebies to celebrate your birthday? Check out my list here.
Summer School is over, so we are enjoying our first “real” week of summer break! Besides our usual weekly appointments, we’ll be checking out the zoo, and the local library has some fun events coming up that we’re checking out!
I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.
You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.
I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:
Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix). I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.
Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.
For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.
Monday: Breakfast for dinner: Bagels with cream cheese, fruit salad, scrambled eggs with cheese
Tuesday: Leftover Night- I’ve got leftovers of the Orange Chicken I made last night. It was a meal kit from my recent visit to Dream Dinners.
Wednesday:Mexican Cesar Salad with chicken (I’m planing a trip to Costco and I’ll be grabbing a rotisserie chicken)