Friday, May 28, 2010

Cheap Food?

Here's something that bothers me. We decided to travel to a small, local grocery store, just to see what it was like. As soon as we walked in the door, several teenagers were asking if customers would like to donate to a food pantry they were collecting for. At first I thought, how great is that? But then I saw some of the stuff that was being donated: Raman noodles, Mountain Dew, chips, etc. A bunch of junk, basically.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good snack. As a matter of fact, I think we bought 12 pounds of cheese and a bag of potato chips because we're child-less this weekend, and sustaining on grilled cheese sandwiches until sometime next week. But I would never DONATE junk to people who are in need of food.

On a very similar vein, Angel Food Ministries sent me an email with the menu of the month. If you're not familiar with them, Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month.

I copied all that from their website. Here is this month's menu, also from their website:

1.5 lb. Sirloin Steaks (4 x 6 oz.)

2 lb. Mac & Beef Dinner Entrée

2 lb. IQF Chicken Breast (Boneless


1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 lb. Chicken Breast Fajita Strips

1 lb. Breaded Crunchy Fish Bites

(32 ct.)

1.5 lb. Smoked Chicken Sausage

2 lb. Heat & Serve Green Beans

1 lb. Fajita Blend (Onions, Red &

Green Pepper Strips)

1 lb. Rice

25 oz. Pasta Sauce

1 lb. Pasta

3 lb. Idaho Potatoes

32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk

Dozen Eggs


Some of those things are pretty good food choices. Personally, I'd skip the meat, but some people seem to like it. What really chaps my hiney is that they have a special box "Just for me. An assortment of child-friendly snacks. Great for after school or any time." Yum, right?

4 each Stuffed Sandwiches available in a variety of flavors

1.5 lb Mini Corn Dogs

2 each Twin Mini Chicken Sandwiches

2 lb. Chicken Tenders

1 lb. String Cheese (1 oz. sticks))

2 each Peanut Butter and Jelly Jamwich (2.8 oz. each)

1 each Nacho's Lunch Snack with Chips, Cheese and Salsa (3.7 oz.)

1 each Turkey & American Cheese Lunch Snack with Turkey, American and Crackers (2.15 oz.)

1 each Ham & American Cheese Lunch Snack with Ham, American and Crackers (2.15 oz.)

These are NOT healthy foods!!!! These are foods I totally discourage my child to eat!!

So I complained. I assumed it fell on deaf ears, or blind eyes, since it was done via email, but during my research for this article, I found this:

Just 4 Me – After School Fruit & Veggie Box $16.00

An assortment healthy fruit snacks especially for kids.

3 Red Delicious Apples 3 Granny Smith Apples

3 Navel Oranges (1) 1lb. Mini Carrots

(2) 2 oz. Pack Celery Sticks (1) 3-pack Fruit Juice

(1) 6-pack Apple Sauce (1) 6 oz. Bag Banana Chips

(1) Either 2.5 oz. Bag Apple Chips or Sweet Potato Chips

(2) 1.75 oz Ranch Dressing Cups

Oh, Angel Food.. We're so close!! Too bad I can buy these same "snacks" in the produce department of any grocery store for around $10.

So what I'm wondering is this: do we (as a people) not think that "poor" people deserve decent, healthy food? Also, this Angel Food stuff is not free; it's not even really cheap. People are handing over their hard-earned money or food stamps for food that is poisoning them from the inside out! And throwing a bag of frozen green beans doesn't magically make it healthy! I got those green beans once. We use it to keep down swelling because the bag just looks so "generic".

Ok, it's going to start pouring down some awful rain and I'm wondering if I'll have to wear a trash bag home, so I'll get off my soap box now.


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