by Maureen McNair
One of the things weighing on my mind as I planned the food distribution for last week was whether or not the food pantry would end up with more perishable food than we could distribute. We had over 1,800 pounds of fresh potatoes, apples, and tomatoes, a few hundred pounds of food from Starbucks, and about 400 pounds of bread. On any given Saturday, we can easily distribute that much perishable food along with many hundreds of pounds of frozen meat and dry goods.
Every week, I plan as carefully as I can to avoid having left over perishable food. Planning is more art than science because, of course, pantry clients don’t make appointments. So, I guesstimate how much food we can put into the community without having left overs. We can’t store perishable left overs for another week. Plus, we are the latest area food distribution for the week, so it’s hard to ﬁnd another pantry that can get it out into the community right away. And, we certainly don’t want to throw away food.
I was wondering if the pantry would have too much perishable left overs last Saturday because on July 15, the federal child tax credits started to show up in people’s bank accounts. The federal tax credits give up to $3,600 this year, up from $2,000, to eligible families in a bid to reduce child poverty. That is a huge amount of extra money for a family living below the poverty line.
I wondered whether our regular pantry clients would show up for food or if they would spend the extra money by going to a grocery store and picking out exactly the food they wanted for their own families.
Last Saturday turned out to be one of our busiest days ever. I have no idea why! But, we provided food to well over 160 heads of household. We had plenty of food to go around and no perishable food left over.
The child tax credits will continue to show up in people’s bank accounts. So, we’ll just have to wait and see if the extra money changes our food distribution. But, based on last week, we have to continue sourcing as many tons of fresh produce as we can on a week by week basis.
Your continuing generosity makes our food distribution possible. Thank you for on-going support!
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