America is the land of milk and honey, the land of plenty. Only those in other, developing countries don’t have money for food, right? Everyone has access to the most basic food in the United States, right?
Because the United States is such a land of plenty, many who are struggling are ashamed to admit that they cannot afford food. In our neighborhood, there is a woman who rummages through trash cans for food. I have seen her steal from our neighbor’s garden to get fresh vegetables. We don’t like to think that these things happen in the United States, but they do.
If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, here are some steps you or they can take:
1. Get a temporary loan. If the cash crunch is just temporary, such as the few weeks between when you start a job and actually get paid, quick cash such as what you can find here might be the way to go. While a payday loan like this isn’t recommended as a way to live indefinitely, it can help you bridge a short period when you are waiting for cash.
2. Visit a food pantry. If you are short on cash for longer than a few weeks, keep in mind that there are many food pantries waiting to serve people who are hungry. Simply call your local town hall to learn where your nearest food pantry is. You will go home with enough food to feed your family for at least a week.
3. Visit a soup kitchen. There are many soup kitchens that offer hot meals. This is an excellent place to go to get a warm meal, especially if you have children.
4. Notify your local church. While it may be hard to do, consider notifying your church. Churches often help those who are struggling, but you have to let them know that you are having a hard time.
5. Sign up for Angel Food Ministries. Angel Food Ministries sells boxes of food including meat and fresh vegetables for much less than you can get at the grocery store. Check their website to see if they delivery near you.
6. Work on a farm. Community supported agriculture (CSAs) often give those who volunteer to work part-time on the farm or man the farm stand free fruits and vegetables for 20 or 26 weeks, depending on the length of the CSA. This is an excellent way to get free, nutritious food.
If you don’t foresee a quick way out of your current financial difficulties, you may be able to apply for government help. You could apply for the SNAP program (formerly food stamps). Your children may also qualify for free breakfast and lunch at school.
While we don’t like to think about people going hungry in our own communities, it does happen. Luckily, there are plenty of services available to help people survive a rough patch in their finances.