Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First on the List

I've written an article on the move down here. I wrote another article on camper living here too. If you don't know the story, you can read up on it or just keep checking in and I'll be putting bits and pieces in as I go. Right now, I'm starting with today.

I've been on pretty hard times since the move. I wasn't all that affluent before the move but I gave up a little part time job to relocate and that hurt. I thought I would write a little about what to give a friend or relation that might be in a similar situation.

 Depending on the living situation, and with little money it usually isn't too luxurious, space is often at a premium. I'm living in a 25-foot camper and don't have room for knick-knacks or ornamental gifts. What most people on hard times need is, more or less in this order, food, shelter and clothing.

Food is a daily requirement. When I run out of food, it becomes an obsession. I don't want candy or cakes, I want real food! Taking food to a friend in need is never an empty gesture. Taking a box of chocolate might  less  appreciated unless they are a chocolate fiend. I am not. That doesn't mean that I don't love sweets, but not too much of it.

If you are going to take food, consider what might be most needed. If your friend is going to a food pantry, or gets food stamps, they will not be getting some items like paper products, soap, detergent, dish soap, dish rags, sponges, cleaner, dog food, cat food and the like. Don't assume that if you take a few ingredients, that your recipient will have what is needed to make a meal. Hamburger helper is pretty bad without the hamburger. Don't take mixes that need baking if the person doesn't have a working oven.

Food pantries hand out a lot of canned goods, corn, green beans, canned carrots and  lots of dry beans, rice, and noodles.  What they lack is something to make this into a tasty meal. A good spaghetti sauce with grated cheese and some sausage or hamburger makes dry noodles into a great meal.

 Keep in mind that with limited food resources, pasta soon grows old, so anything else sometimes is a great treat. Things I don' t get to eat often, and I love is pizza, chicken, fried or otherwise, fresh salads and dressing, fresh fruits and vegetables and anything with mayonnaise. I rarely get to buy eggs, cheese, juice, tuna or other canned meats. It's a struggle sometimes to buy butter and  milk and I'm a confirmed milk drinker, in or out of my coffee. Oh, and don't forget, generally food pantries don't hand out coffee or tea either.

 If you aren't near enough to take food personally, there are gift boxes and baskets and cards to just about every store. You'd have to know which stores are nearby or buy a prepaid credit card. If you want to give them more of a treat, here's some I wouldn't mind getting. Remember that the cards will be useless unless there is a place nearby to use them. And the higher priced the food, the less you can buy with them. I personally would rather go to a place like Subway and buy more food, than a fancy restaurant and buy less.

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