‘Cause Giving Feels Good

This week J decided he wanted to spend some gift cards he’d won at work on food for a local Parish’s food bank here in St. Ann.  I contacted them Wednesday to see what they needed right now in time for the holidays and made a list.  After he got off work, we made a trip to our local Big Lots to shop for canned goods and non-perishable food products.  We finished in time to drop it all off at the Parish.

It was definitely a feel good moment for us and we’ve decided to start doing it year round.  Sure, we’ve always been a bit charitable in the past and have done nice things for others or given money when the opportunity arose.  My work has a charity committee that gives money or goods each month to a different charity, and I have participated several times over the years.

Our challenge for ourselves in 2012 will be to make a monthly donation to this food bank.  After Coupon STL, a local coupon clipping/money saving blog that I follow, began setting aside just $5 each shopping trip for food bank items, I was motivated to do the same. Five bucks can go a long way, especially when canned goods and other items are on sale or you have coupons for such.

You may wonder why we chose to shop at Big Lots of all places?  Well, that’s the main reason for this post.  We spent just $79 at Big Lots with no coupons at all, and here’s what we purchased:

9 Canned Hams at $2.75 each

4 Skillet Pasta Meals at $1.00 each

4 Chicken Salads w/ Crackers at $1.00 each

4 Tuna Salads w/ Crackers at $1.00 each

4 Boxes of Mac N Cheese at .50 cents each

6 Boxes of Chicken Rice a Roni at .90 cents each

3 Cans of Sweet Peas at .60 cents each

3 Cans of Chicken Noodle Soup at .95 cents each

4 Cans of Vienna Sausages at .45 cents each

3 cans of Hunts Whole Tomatoes at .80 cents each

3 Cans of Whole Kernel Corn at .80 cents each

3 Cans of White Chicken Meat at $1.65 each

4 Jars of Pasta Sauce at $1.50 each

3 Cans of Baked Beans at $1.00 each

1 Can of Peaches at .80 each

1 Can of Fruit Cocktail at $1.00 each

1 Can of Cherries at $1.00 each

Our total was $74.90 and tax was just $4.10.  Our main decision for Big Lots was for the Canned Hams.  We’d seen them there before and the Parish had specifically requested them.  We decided some one stop shopping would do since Big Lots had a ton of boxed and canned food items.  Sure, a lot of the grocery stores are running soups and veggies right now for 10 for $10, some are 10 for $7 at some of the ads I checked this week.  But Mac N Cheese and Pasta Sauce were a bit more.  So, looking at the big picture, I think we did great considering we had no coupons and all of the food went to a good cause.  That was the main purpose here no matter how much we paid.

So, looks like I have another challenge (or New Years resolution?) on my hands for 2012.  I’m going to dedicate $5 to $10 per paycheck to food items for charity.  Since I get paid every other week (26 times a year), that’s a total of $130 to $260 dollars for the year.  To put that into perspective, at $260 I could have bought three times what we purchased above.  Or at $260, that’s 94 canned hams!  How many mouths will that feed?

So now I challenge you to do the same!  Can’t afford $5.00 per paycheck?  Do $3.00.  Heck, do $1.00!  We can all afford a buck, can’t we? One dollar would buy two cans of sausages or two boxes of the Mac N Cheese! I often see 4 for $1.00 specials at the grocery store.  Step up to the challenge next year and be charitable.  How many mouths will you feed?

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