For the past few years, I've been supporting a program at my local commissary called "Feds Feed Families." Basically, the commissary packs up bags of food which patrons buy and donate to our local food pantry. There are usually several sizes of bags with various price points and contents. Depending on the contents of my wallet, I will buy a bag each time I visit the commissary. This is a great idea that provides an easy, painless way to fill a need in the community.
This year, there are four sizes of bags. Here is a list of each bag size, including contents and price.
MEDIUM (couldn't find the price, but it was around $5)
tomato sauce (which may or may not be spaghetti sauce--I can't remember exactly what it said)
prepared meal (which I assume is something like Hamburger Helper)
cake mix or gravy
So what's wrong with this picture?
I feel like these bags were designed by Marie Antoinette and Ronald Reagan (he of the ketchup is a vegetable opinion). I'm not saying that people who are looking for assistance with feeding their families don't deserve cake or cookies, but goodness, if I can't put a meal on my kids' plates, I'm pretty sure I'm not looking for a cake mix to solve the problem, particularly since it uses three eggs, which could be breakfast or lunch. I don't even object to ketchup or mayonnaise per se, but they won't do much to alleviate hunger if there's nothing to put them on.
The only bag that makes sense to me is the medium one, which can make two or three meals. I feel like there's more bang for the buck there, in terms of feeding hungry people.
Now, I know that these bags are probably not given directly to hungry people, but are given to our local food closet, which most likely supplements them with other items, including food vouchers that allow people to choose their own perishables like milk, meat, bread, etc. I would just rather see the bags include things like tuna, mac & cheese, peanut butter, rice, and canned fruit. People will donate the other stuff, as I know from personal experience gathering food pantry donations at my school. When a child is hungry, cake is just not the answer, as Marie Antoinette learned the hard way. Let's put real food in our donation bags, and fill our donation pantries' shelves with foods that provide nutrients while satisfying hunger.