Ben and I visited our local F.I.S.H. (Faith In Serving Humanity) location last weekend. We had a bag of clothing to donate, and I had been wanting to go and find out more about the services they offer. This location had a food bank plus a clothing room where clothing is sold, with the profits going to the food bank.
We both looked around the clothing room to see if there were any items we might want to purchase. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything in either of our sizes that worked for us this time. I plan to go back once in awhile, as they get donations in weekly.
While we were there, we went back to the food pantry to talk with the ladies there about what their current needs are. They said that what they really need right now were actually non-food items. They explained that food stamps do not cover any toiletries, paper goods, diapers, etc. Food stamps cover basic foods, and the food pantry may have a few items to offer, food-wise, but what about those items we use every day that aren't included?
Here is a list they gave us:
One of the volunteers told us that her heart really goes out to the elderly, as they have such fixed incomes to begin with and what little money they have often goes toward medications or medical supplies. They may be able to get some of their basic food needs met through food stamps, but what about toothpaste or denture cream? What about toilet paper? What about dishwashing detergent?
I have never had to receive assistance from the government to feed my family, but I will be honest and tell you that I have come close to applying for food stamps a couple of times. There is nothing like that sinking feeling that comes when you look into your pantry and refrigerator and don't know what you will feed your kids. And to not have the basic toiletries and items that we, in America, consider necessary. That is stressful. I have certainly learned how to be more resourceful, and of course I asked over and over for wisdom from God, which He always gives. But sometimes there are just no resources.
I am thinking more and more about how to help the dear people in my community. I know the statistics of those who are on government assistance are more staggering than ever. People are in need. Those of us who have access to resources can help.
After leaving F.I.S.H., Ben and I went to the grocery store, and I was thrilled to find coupons at the kiosk for laundry detergent and fabric softener for brands that were already on sale. Score! I hope to also visit the dollar stores within the next week to get a few other things. Our budget is limited, but I am compelled to help.
And of course, while we are out picking up toothpaste and diapers, we can also throw a jar of peanut butter and a couple of boxes of mac and cheese into our carts, too, don't you think?!
I can't think of a better Christmas gift to give.
Blessings and love. xo