171 Food Pantry ShoppingUnder $28--and you should see the bounty. The pastor announced Sunday the Food Pantry of Lutheran Social Services needed everything. Usually, they announce what they need, peanut butter or diapers or mac and cheese. This week, anything and everything was welcome. But I by-passed my usual stores in Columbus and went to Bassett's near Port Clinton, OH where I shop on vacation.
Bassett's is pretty high end, lots of gourmet and specialty items and a fabulous bakery, deli, and coffee bar, but in preparation for the expansion of the Wal-Mart to a super store, they are starting to stock lower priced, lesser known brands, a number at $1.00. During the summer I tried a number of items and found most to be quite satisfactory. I make a lot of pudding, sugar-free pies, and use graham cracker prepared crusts. Purity brand has that at $1.00, rather than the $1.59 or $1.79 of name brands. I also bought "Our Family" brand, not for a dollar a piece, but certainly much reduced and good quality compared to well known brands with a hefty advertising budget. I looked at and compared prices on soups, selecting Campbell's because they were on special and a better deal than house brands.
So I purchased boxes of crackers for $1.00, cheese and mac 3/$1.00, "cherrios" clone and raisin bran clone boxes of cereal, instant oatmeal packets, peanuts, potato mixes, casserole mixes for stroganoff, lasanga and chili, flavored coffee packets, and soups. I don't use a lot of prepared foods myself, but I know they are essential for the users of the food pantry, many of whom are very young and don't have equipped kitchens for "home-made," or who don't know the basics of food preparation.
Purity has a web site where you can shop on-line. If One Dollar grocery stores aren't near you, you can buy terrific bargains here, like 12 8-packs of oatmeal cereal for $12.00, or 12 6.5 oz packets of beef pasta dinners for $12.00, or 24 4 oz. jars of instant coffee for $24.00. Again, I remind you I don't purchase prepackaged, single items like oatmeal, but I have a nice kitchen. I find the sizes reasonable, which often is not the case in the stores where I shop, which seem to reason that bigger is cheaper which isn't really so.
NashFinch produces a lot of low cost and special label foods, although I haven't found a way to order on-line. Look for them at your store. On-line they have a very good recipe page.