Free Food Boxes from Feeding the Flock

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San Diego, CA area readers, this post is a huge blessing for those who may be facing a little food insecurity right now. Feeding the Flock is a local 501c3 non profit organization. Their goal is to “feed you physically and spiritually.”

Two Fridays a month they are offering free food boxes containing various fresh and shelf-stable food, perfect for anyone who may need a just a little help.

There is no proof of need required, just sign up here.  When you pick up your box, don’t forget your ID.

You can also check up with Feeding the Flock on Facebook. They have lots of great local events helping those in need and the under served. They are looking for volunteers for their events, so if you aren’t in need, but want to help (with time or supplies), contact them!

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In Need? Food Resources in San Diego

DSCN2469Updated: June 2017

For some of us, couponing and frugal living aren’t enough. Sometimes you need help, and there is no shame in admitting that.

In a large metropolitan areas like San Diego County, there are many resources for those who have food insecurity. Some of them require proof of need, proof of residence, or extensive paperwork to qualify. For someone who is embarrassed by food insecurity, these requirements can be a deterrent. Other organizations put a cap on how many times a family can visit.

Here are a few local San Diego County Area organizations that offer food assistance that do not require any proof of need:

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.09.41 AMThe Cupboard on 54th. Located at Calvary Lutheran Church 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA 92115.  They are open 3 times a week.

You can get dry goods one time per month and a produce bag is available each day they are open (for a total of three times a week).

This is located at the same location as a free clothing closet. They have clothes for men women and children, as well as shoes and accessories.

Journey Church in La Mesa has a food bank that distributes food three times per month.

  • 1st Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm
  • 2nd Friday of the month – produce only – at 9 am
  • 3rd Saturday of the month from 8:30 am

Christ United Methodist Church 3295 Meade Ave San Diego, CA 92116 has a food bank three days a week. They ask you how many people are in your home (adults and kids) and they put together a kit for you. Lots of canned and boxed goods! Everything is in date and in good shape.

Hours: Mondays 1-3pm, Wednesdays 10am-Noon and 1-3pm, Fridays 10am-Noon and 1-3pm

Park in the rear lot and look for the Good Neighbor Center Food Bank sign.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank has neighborhood distribution sites all over SanDiego. 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. You can find a list of locations and times here.

unnamed.jpgFaith Chapel in Spring Valley has a great event once a month called Meet the Need. It is the 1st Sunday of each Month.

There is a free lunch starting at 1pm with some fellowship (a great way to meet your neighbors), followed by shopping in their boutique for free clothing and household items, and free grocery distribution.

You can learn more by visiting or contacting Faith Chapel here.  Pastor Josiah and his crew are wonderful people!

 

For residents of the City of Santee, the Santee Food Bank is available to you twice a month. Once for regular distribution (from whatever donations they have received), and once for commodities (that’s more like pantry staples). More information and updated contact information can be found here. Proof of Santee Residency (like a utility bill) is required.

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!

Cutting down on food waste in 30 minutes!

One of the ways that we save money is to cut down on food waste. For me that means once we are home from the store and all of the perishables are put away, I pull out the cutting board, a sharp knife, the spiralizer, some zip top bags, and reusable storage containers.

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This was last weeks fresh fruit and veggies (plus 3 bags of baby carrots and a cantaloupe- not pictured).

I set to work, chopping, packaging, and spiralizing.  In less than 30 minutes I had all of the fresh fruits and veggies prepped and measured into small bags to be dropped into lunches, or packed into plastic containers.

This of course is only for the fruits and veggies that require prep. The oranges, apples, and bananas require no prep to eat, so they just go into the fruit bowl.

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Fruits and veggies all ready for a week of healthy lunches!
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Cantaloupe chopped up and ready for my belly!! The bottom container has 3 spiralized Italian zucchini squash, ready to be made into “pasta” salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By spending a little time each week getting veggies and fruit ready to eat, you’ll cut down on food waste, because the food is all ready to eat. No scrambling to cut up cucumbers for lunch early in the morning, no putting off eating something because you are short on time in the evening.

You will also be saving money over purchasing pre-chopped and pre-packed vegetables and fruit. All of this produce was purchased at 99 Cents only for less than $12.00. So you can eat well (and healthy) on a budget!!

And if it turns out atthe end of the week that you aren’t able to eat all of your veggies and fruit and they can be frozen (pretty much anything except melons), toss the bags in the freezer and you now have veggies for a casserole, or fruit for a smoothie!

The average American family of four throws away $25.00 in food a WEEK!  Here are a few more tips to help your family curtail food waste!

Eat your leftovers:  this seems like a no brainer. When you divvy out your portions for dinner, make yourself your lunch for the next day.  If you won’t eat it right away, pop it into the freezer- label it, so you don’t forget what it is.

When it looks like your fruit is about to go south, freeze it
. This includes bananas!  You can use defrosted bananas in banana bread or frozen bananas are great in smoothies.  Other frozen fruit can also be used in smoothies.
Citrus fruits can be juiced and frozen or the juice can be consumed for breakfast or put in smoothies.   Apples can be peeled cooked into applesauce or made into apple butter.

When I buy fresh tomatoes and they get just a little too ripe- I freeze them whole, then I bake them with chicken breasts and herbs and top with fresh parm- Yummy!

Buy less. I know it seems like a strange concept, especially with all of the really great deals you will be finding, but, the one proven way to waste less is to bring less home to waste.

Shopping for healthy food with coupons: It can be done!

One of my goals for this blog is to show you all how to save money and continue to eat the same healthy foods you already eat, or give you new avenues for saving so you can afford more of the healthy foods you like that you can’t find coupons for.

Today I went to Ralphs. For $7.30, I bought all of this:IMG_2850

That’s 10 1 lb. packages of Driscoll’s Strawberries and 3 cartons of Dream Blends nut milk.  I used ten Driscoll’s coupons I earned from the Driscoll’s Advisory Panel and three Dream Coupons that I printed from a recent Facebook Campaign (they are no longer available). 

The Strawberries were $1.48 on sale and I used a .75 off coupon on each package, for a total of $.73/each.

The nut milk was marked down to $1.79/each and I had $2.00 off coupons. Because the coupon price was greater, the cashier adjusted the amount of the coupon on her register, so I received the nut milks for free.

But, what am I going to do with 10 lbs of fresh fruit? I’ve already chopped up 5 lbs and put them into snack size Ziploc bags. They are chilling in the freezer, perfectly portioned for smoothies or to go into yogurt.

Henry is taking two pounds to school tomorrow to share with his class (his school has a no baked goods/candy for birthday celebrations rule).

One pound we will eat tonight, and the remaining two will be served at Henry’s birthday party on Saturday. Ten pounds of fruit doesn’t go all that far when you have two guys that LOVE fruit!

If you follow a healthy diet and are looking for more coupons on the products that you regualrly purchase, here are a few suggestions:

  • Check the websites of the products you like. You’d be surprised how many have printable coupons on their websites! That’s how I found out about the Driscoll’s Advisory Panel!
  • Don’t forget to check websites like Coupons.com, Redplum, Smartsource, CommonKindness, and Hopster for healthy printable coupons. Common Kindness and Hopster specialize in “whole” food coupons.
  • Don’t skip out on the money saving apps! This article has a pretty comprehensive list of money saving apps.

Backyard Fruit: Helping Others!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADriving around much of Southern California, there is one constant: Backyard fruit trees DRIPPING with unpicked fruit, and even more trees with piles of dropped and rotting fruit under the trees. That really makes me upset. WHY?

There are 16 million hungry kids in the US. I heard a statistic on the radio the other day that 1 in 4 kids in the US don’t have access to fresh fruits and veggies! If you have backyard fruit trees or gardens that are out of control with more produce that you and your family can eat, here are a few ways you can help others in need:

  • Contact your local church and see if they offer a food pantry. If so, take a box of produce from your trees/garden over to share with those in need.
  • Contact your local food bank and see if they accept home grown fruit. Some do, some do not.
  • There are several organizations across the US that will come to you, pick your fruit and donate it.FoodForwardVillage Harvest are just two.
  • There are websites where you can register your trees and share your produce with others. Neighborhood Fruitis just one.
  • Post on your local freecycle or buy nothing project group. I know around here there are many neighbors who would love to help you pick and eat your fruit.  Recently there was an older lady who had fruit trees and she couldn’t keep up with the harvesting, so she was looking for someone who could help her pick fruit. They were welcome to take as much as they could eat, as long as they picked 2 lbs of fruit for her. That sounds like a great deal to me!
  • Here is a crazy idea- Offer some to your friends and neighbors!

Small changes can add up to big savings!

chaulkboard_bkgrnd_506x575 I get asked a lot, “How can I save money besides clipping coupons, using store club cards, apps, and shopping sales?”

Well, ok. Hmmm…. How do you save money without actively saving money? It’s easier than you think, in fact, you probably already do a few of these things, or could with little effort.

Drop the daily Starbucks habit. Seriously. How easy it it to set up your coffee maker before you go to bed and flip on a switch when you crawl out of bed in the morning? It’s so incredibly easy. Like iced coffee or something a little foo foo? The extra ingredients are pretty cheap and last a while, and it takes the same amount of time in the morning to make it yourself, minus the line at the drive-thru.

Supplies you probably have on hand: Coffee/k-Cups, Coffee maker (or french press or Kuerig), creamer, milk, cream, sweetener, flavored syrups, chocolate syrup (if you like a mocha), double walled tumblers with lids and straws for cold drinks, and insulated hot beverage cups with lids for hot drinks.

Don’t know how to make your fav. coffee house recipes? Check out this article, or this one,  for some ideas on how you can do it at home. Oh, and don’t forget Pinterest.

Ditch the Drive-Thru. Again, it’s so easy to spend 10-15 minutes before bed packing your lunch and snacks (not to mention healthier) for the next day. Do it while you are setting up your coffee maker! If you aren’t a sandwich and chips fan, there are tons of yummy lunch alternatives, even if your work place doesn’t have a microwave or method for re-heating your lunch.

Just a quick googling of Adult Lunch Ideas came up with tons of yummy ideas, and Pinterest is full of them too.

And if you’ve got space in your pantry, consider making an area where you can store all your shelf stable lunch and snack components together. We have one shelf called that is the designated snack shelf. I tend to stock up when snacks that we like are cheap or free. I hide them and only put out one or two boxes at a time. That way they last longer. My two go to stores for inexpensive healthy snacks are Costco and Grocery Outlet.

Supplies you probably have on hand: An insulated lunch bag (I have two: One from Thirty-one that looks like this, and an Thermos brand one that is bigger and better for packing lunch and snacks all in one), Reusable containers to hold lunch (I like the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid sets, they snack together and the lids nest. Not to mention that they are durable), blue ice (here is a list of great DIY hacks), an extra set of silverware, a reusable beverage container (like a water bottle, or even a reusable juice box if you like juice in your lunch). If you like salad, consider getting a salad container like this one that has a dressing container and silverware that snaps on.

Meal Plan: it’s totally easy. I promise you that meal planing is so easy, anyone can do it. Lemme break it down:

  • Inventory your pantry and freezer (You can use forms here to make it easier)
  • Make a list of dishes you can create with what you have on hand.
  • Make a list of dishes you can make with 1 or 2 additions that you don’t have on hand.
  • Put the missing ingredients on your shopping list and pick them up on your next few trips
  • Post the lists of dishes on fridge.
  • Don’t freak out when it’s time to cook, you’ve got a cheat sheet on your fridge!

You can even do some freezer/batch cooking when you have a few spare hours and you’ll have a few yummy meals at your fingertips for meals that you don’t feel like cooking. Here are a few free Kindle books from Amazon about freezer/batch cooking. I’ll be posting some batch/Freezer cooking recipes in the near future.

Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating.  Right now we are eating a lot of  of apples, citrus, and winter squashes. Eating food that is in season and inexpensive means I can get more for my buck. We also shop for our produce at 99 Cents Only first to pick up quality name brand products, then fill in with a trip to Sprouts as needed.