Well, the annual Scout Drive for food was this past weekend. The scouts sent out notices saying that they would come around on Saturday morning to collect bags of canned food for the cause. My husband brought something to my attention that was different this year, however-- when they put the reminder in the paper, there was an additional bit of information. In past years, they would indicate what time they would start collecting the food, and you were expected to have it out, and that was it. If you forgot that the food drive was going on, and didn't leave it out in time, you would find yourself taking it back in, or trying to get it to whatever organization could use it. This year, there was a statement to the effect that if you didn't leave anything out, a scout would be at your door asking for a donation. While I guess you could look at this as an effort to be more efficient in their food collection efforts, that's not the first thing that comes to my mind. The first thing that comes to my mind is that they added this step of personally asking for donations because times are getting harder and harder for so many people, and as I have read in so many articles, there is an increase in the number of people needing those donations, and a decrease in the number of people making them.
Another thing that I noticed, that is along the same lines, is that there is a huge box set up to receive canned food donations as you walk between the double doors of our local national chainstore. Written on the side is the information that their goal is to collect something like 50,000 cans. Unless I'm mistaken, or have simply been highly unobservant in the past, it's a little early in the year to start with the food drives. I always thought they started with the boxes like that around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Again, it makes me worry about the degree of need in the community...
I know that it is not just around here that the need is great--I have read about food bank shortages in many places in the U.S. My hope is just the following: that those who have the means will do a "personal food drive"--collecting food for their own shelves, and stocking up before prices get higher, or more things are unavailable. You can read here about the fact that many Americans are losing their jobs--last week alone there were 15,000 new unemployment claims. There are so many ways that we can find ourselves having a financial emergency--job loss, medical emergencies, etc.--but we will always have to eat. What we store will come in handy whether we have an emergency or not. And if we do not need it ourselves, someone else will probably be glad to have it. Having food stored will always be a plus--feeding us through emergencies, allowing us to help others, or freeing up cash for other necessities--so as I see it, the more we have stored, the better.
As for the food drive on Saturday, we loaded up some soup that mostly had expiration dates in January and February 2009 (hey, like I said in the last post-- I guard my soups jealously :) and threw in some other items. Then I went out and replaced my soup with those at a good price at the local national chainstore. Yes, it's my same old song--food storage is important, please get in as much as you can, learn to use what you have, get ready for an emergency, whatever form that emergency may take...I know it goes on, but it's important. Right now, if you have the means to stock up, you probably have more choices. With jobs being cut, it's quite possible that soon our options for storage will also be cut as companies go out of business. It's also possible that as prices rise due to the economy, some of the things that we could store now may be out of our price range later.
I'm still working on my personal food drive--stocking up the shelves so that I will have food when we need it. What's on your shelves/in your freezer/in your garden? A little at a time, as you can afford it, adds up quickly. Just this past week, my husband said that we needed more peanut butter. I said that there was some downstairs, and that I'd rather use that and wait for a sale on peanut butter. I bought the stuff in the storage room at $1.50 for 18 oz., if memory serves, and the peanut butter at the store was between $3 and $4 for 28 oz. Ahh, another benefit of the personal food drive--if your shelves aren't empty, you may be able to wait for better prices on sale. Gotta love options.... :)