Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Savings

clothing budget
Back to school shopping should be fun & not stressful.
If you have kids, you will be in the same boat as me this month; feeling like you have a hole in your pocket and wondering where all your money went after completing your back to school shopping.  According to The National Retail Federation back to school shopping is considered the second-largest spending event of the year behind Christmas.  They are expecting $83.3 billion to be spent this season.  That is just CRAZY!

However having two teenage girls that love clothes and school supplies, I know exactly how they get that figure.  Our youngest daughter Emily is big into organizing, which means school supplies that keep her on task.  She has OCD and if it isn't just right, we go back to the store. (This is called picking my battles because when she feels organized - life is a whole lot easier.)  Our oldest daughter Morgan likes fashion, but isn't into the name brands, which is nice.  Bottom line though - school shopping means bargain shopping for us.  We try and find the best in school savings by doing the following.

Ready, Set, Organize

  1. First things first in saving money...go through their closets and dressers to find out what clothes still fit and what they will still wear.  Hidden clothes in the back of the closet can sometimes find new life. 
  2. Next we do the oh so familiar hand me down drill.  My girls have different tastes so this doesn't always work out, but there are a few things Emily likes and will actually wear for the new school year.  
  3. Lastly, we go through all their old notebooks from last school year and see what we can salvage, including pens, pencils, erasers, etc....  Most of the time we can come up with a lot of the school supplies by having them look through their rooms.  I usually only have to buy paper and maybe a binder or two.

Clothing Budget Helps Save Money

Thinking Ahead - In our household we also give a clothing budget over the next three months for clothes.  Since we live in California it is still pretty warm when school starts so our kids are still wearing their summer clothes the first few months of school.  So, we give each girl a dollar limit at the beginning of each month to purchase clothes.  For example we give them $100.00 in August to buy whatever clothing they want - usually new shirts and shoes.  The next month they get another $100.00 for jeans and maybe more shirts.  Then another $100 the last month. This is when they buy some sweaters and maybe more pants.  This works well because 1) they always have new clothes and 2) we aren't buying things that they can't wear until the cooler weather hits.  It also prepares them for real life by learning to save and how to budget their money.

Best Places to Shop

Whether your child is going back to school this Fall for Kindergarten, 12th grade, or going off to college, you will need a list of supplies -- typically on the school's website or at the school.  If you are an online shopper, you can go to Staples and shop by the grade your child is entering.  There are always back to school savings with their back to school sales and it's convenient.  I found I get the biggest bang for my buck here!

If you are a Target shopper, another great place to shop for school supplies and finding back to school specials, not only can you buy supplies, you can also do school clothes shopping.  They even have a coupon page that has extra savings to print out.   Last year Emily bought her backpack for 50% off - a great deal for a very stylish backpack.

Another great place to save without all the hustle and bustle is CVS.  We go here quite often.  They always have sales, it isn't too big, and there is less to choose from.  This helps because too many choices can be frustrating and overwhelming.  Also, their Extra Care CVS Card provides extra savings.  Last month alone I saved over $360 and earned $24 in extra bucks, which I will use to buy school supplies this year.

back to school savings
New school clothes
always puts a smile on their faces.
The most expensive part about back to school is the clothes shopping.  It can be less painful if you know where to shop.  For example, outlet stores are a great choice if going for their deals. However, you may go in for one deal, but then end up buying other things that aren't on sale thus leaving with no real savings.

To be a bargain shopper for school clothing you need to go to more than just one store.  Research first.  Find out what sales are going on and don't impulse shop.  The local mall is always a great place around the new school year.  They all want you to buy their clothes so they are constantly competing with each other to have the better sale.

Here are a few stores that often have great deals on school clothes and shoes online or at the actual store:

  • Famous Footwear
  • Kohls (Great prices from shoes, to bags, to clothes - teenagers LOVE this store.)
  • JC Penney (The whole family will enjoy their styles and everyday is a sale.)
  • Aeropostale (Great fashion that teenagers love at low prices.)
  • Old Navy ( Teens aren't big shoppers here, but great for younger kids.)
  • Burlington Coat Factory (Great for name brands with half the price and a little more organized than Ross or Marshalls.)
  • PacSun (Great for teen name brands and jeans are usually buy one get one free.)
Even if your children wear uniforms, I wish I had that problem, there are good deals on cheap school uniforms.  Old Navy has great prices from $5.00 to $20.00 for shirts to pants.  JC Penney has a lot of the same as Old Navy just a little more variety on the style.  A little more in cost, but really cute skirts and other styles to spruce up the uniform a little.

Coupons, coupons, coupons...whenever I buy online or get ready to hit the mall I go on the web first to make sure I have every coupon available.  I use online sites like: Retail Me Not,  Printable Coupons, or Deal Catcher  for coupon savings! Just print and take them to the store.

One last tip for back to school savings with teens.  Instead of taking them shopping and letting them buy whatever they want, I would suggest giving them the money and making them manage it.  Negotiate on a set amount before you go and give it to them.  This will make them think about what they are buying and do the math on how much money they have left after each purchase.  They will be more prone to doing a little bargain shopping.  If they know they only have $200 to spend, they might think twice about buying those $100 jeans.  It gives them a sense of control, but also a sense of how much everything costs and that money doesn't grow on trees.

Proactive School Savings

All of these savings and back to school talks bring up a big topic...saving for college.  There are a lot of people out there that are unaware of how to save NOW for college costs in the FUTURE.   Getting an educational savings account is the first place to start. is a great site to learn about a 529 Plan or Coverdell college savings account plan.  These education savings plans help families set aside funds for future collegcosts.  Planning is an easier and less painful method for saving for school, than trying to come up with it at college time.  Plus these accounts provide special tax benefits.  Upromise  is another great college savings plan that allows you to build up a college savings account while you shop for those items your children need now!

Contributing Writer
Training Wheels Preschool Owner

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tired of Being Tired?

I love my little girl, but for those of you who have babies – you can certainly empathize when I say, “I am tired!”  I used to be able to go, go, go.  I still do a lot, but nap time for her can sometimes means nap time for me.

You always hear people say, “I’m soooooo tired.”

If you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so tired,” you are not alone.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five people feel tired and one in 10 is fatigued at any given time. Sometimes we may be able to pinpoint the reason behind our sleepiness – pregnancy or having a baby and getting less sleep, a series of late nights at the office, poor nutrition and nonexistent exercise, or even bouts of insomnia. Other times it is not so easy to find a reason for our exhaustion.

Low energy impacts more than just how you feel physically. Sometimes a lack of energy can impact our mood and how we treat others. You may find yourself yelling at your kids more or picking a fight with your significant other for no good reason. Since we don’t always know what causes tiredness, we may not immediately know how to make ourselves feel better.

What Causes Fatigue and Tiredness?

It is important to realize that the cause of tiredness and fatigue for one person may not be the same trigger for another person.  Some things to watch for:
  • Sleeping patterns, diet (or lack-thereof), and exercise levels can directly impact how tired one feels. 
  • Workplace burnout from work overload or boredom can also contribute to overtiredness according to
  • Medical conditions can also contribute toward chronic tiredness.   Prevention Magazine cites some of the most common medical causes of tiredness and fatigue as anemia, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and chronic fatigue.  According to WebMD, undiagnosed heart disease can also be a factor in excessive tiredness.  Some other important medical causes of tiredness include depression tiredness, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid fatigue
Chronic Tiredness Fatigue
What to do When Your Tired of Being Tired!?!?
If you suspect your tiredness is due to a medical condition, or if you rule out the non-medical causes, it may be prudent to schedule a checkup with your family doctor to evaluate you and ensure your condition is nothing serious. You might even benefit from some tiredness treatment whether that comes in the form of medical or vacation type treatment.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Another type of fatigue is chronic fatigue syndrome.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this syndrome is characterized by “severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.”  Women between the ages of 30 and 50 face the greatest likelihood of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

Here are a few things that may lead to chronic fatigue :
  • Stress 
  • An overfull schedule 
  • Poor sleep 
  • Alcohol 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Metabolism changes as we age 
  • As well as age, previous illness, genetics and environment (U.S. National Library of Medicine) 
Now that you know some of the extreme fatigue causes, you can watch out for them and work to reverse that overly tired feeling.

Fighting Back – A Few Tips on How to Get Energy

Feeling tired does not have to be a way of life.  As you become more aware of the signs and symptoms of what the causes of fatigue are, it may help you not only prepare for it, but also take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Tiredness may just be a symptom of your lifestyle.  It may be time to simplify a bit by limiting late nights at the office or socially.

Nutrition and Vitamins Help with Energy

Some people find that a change in diet or even supplementation may help with their fatigue.  Some possible vitamins that are known to help with increased energy levels include:
  • Taking a good multivitamin to make sure you get your core vitamins and minerals 
  • Eating a healthy diet - eating 5 to 6 small meals a day increases metabolism 
  • Getting a good dose of exercise a few times a week outside or in the gym 
  • Vitamins C and B Complex, like a vit b12 energy booster, also neutralize feelings of fatigue 
Other nutrients such as magnesium, bee pollen, NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), and L-Carnitine, are thought by some to fend off energy tiredness as well.  Natural energy boosters, including Gingko biloba, Maca, and especially Siberian ginseng, a potent energy booster are also thought to help when you are tired.  Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal energy supplements and options for chasing away that tired feeling.  It is a good idea to educate yourself before beginning or taking any new supplement.  There are sites that can help you understand what is out there:
Feeling tired all the time is no way to go about life. If you find yourself in this rut day after day, take the initiative to fight your fatigue and get yourself back to that happy, healthy state.

My tired is a happy tired from my sweet little girl and is, hopefully, short lived.  Don’t live tired!

Tell us what you do to fight that tired feeling!

Kate M. D'Imperio
Contributing Writer

Monday, August 13, 2012

Save On Your Pet Prescriptions

For most of us, our pets are part of our family. They are children, brothers, sisters... heck, I consider my brother's cats my nephews!

According to the ASPCA, 62% of all households in the United States have a pet.  We animal lovers always think that our pets are never going to get sick and will live forever.  I know I do!  But when our four-legged child, brother, or nephew needs pet medicine like antibiotics or a heart medication, what do you do?  The truth is...our pet health is not something we plan for!

My doberman, Mya, gets frequent bladder infections.  Since she can only bark at strangers who walk by and not talk, she tells us by laying at the door all the time rather than in her dog bed.  Every couple of months, we go for a car ride because my sweet pet needs a veterinary visit.  It's the same routine: our pet vet samples her urine, shakes her head, and hands us a bottle of antibiotics.  

pet medicine
My three nephews-all in good pet health!
discount pet drugs
My dobe Mya has been
prescribed a few pet prescriptions!

Keeping my pets healthy is one of my priorities, but it's a tough pill to swallow sometimes.  Every time I head to the counter after one of my pets gets checked out, I cringe because if I need medication, I can never predict what my bill will look like.  I like surprises, but not that kind of surprise! 

Recently, I saw a commercial for online discount pet pharmacy and thought I would do a little research to see if that was a way to keep my pets AND bank account healthy!  After I played detective for a hot minute, I realized that online pet pharmacies may be an alternative to purchase cheap pet medication.  However, buyer beware!  Although there are reputable internet pet med pharmacies out there, there are also fraudulent ones.  Don't take a chance with your pet's health.  Make sure the online pet pharmacy you choose is certified.  One such certification is from the National Association Boards of Pharmacy who accredits online pharmacies for dispensing prescription drugs for animals.  The certification is called Vet-VIPPS.  This way you know your dog is getting the proper dosage in order to get well.

 Protect Yourself While Caring for Your Pet

Always curious about learning new things, I continued my Sherlock Holmes moment.  I did a little bit more research.  It turns out, in some states, veterinarians can legally deny a patient's request for a written prescription, leaving the patient to either purchase their pet's medication at the vet or not at all.  Crazy, right?

I also learned, however, there is a new act on the block titled Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011 that plans to represent just what it says--fairness to pet owners.  If passed, by law pet owners will have the right to receive a copy of veterinary prescriptions, personally or electronically, to take to a pharmacy that fills pet prescriptions if they choose.  In some states where it is legal to write pet prescriptions, veterinary practices are charging a fee to write out a prescription to use elsewhere.  They also make patients sign a waiver saying the practice is not responsible for accuracy of the prescription.  In layman's terms, if you take your pet prescription and get it filled somewhere other than at your vet's office, your veterinarian is not responsible if the prescription is filled with the wrong dosage or even medication.  The law, if passed, will prevent practices from charging a fee for simply writing out a prescription and making patients sign a waiver relinquishing responsibility.  The act was introduced last April and is still waiting to be passed by the house and senate and to be signed by the President.  

In the meantime, if  the cost of your prescription pet meds is causing you to roll over and play dead, there is help!  Another option for caring for our four-legged friends is pet insurance.  Yes! Pet insurance!  ASPCA provides  Pet Health Insurance  coverage for your best friend that comes in four different tiers of coverage.  With over $50.96 billion spent on our pets in the United States last year (American Pet Products Association), pet insurance is becoming more common and a way to reduce the costs to keep your pets healthy and your dog's tail wagging and cat purring.

For those who don't have pet insurance and live in a state where your veterinarian can prescribe your pet a medication, check out the FamilyWize prescription discount card.  The program covers all FDA-approved medications.  Since most pet medications are human medications, you will be able to save an average of 35% on your pooch's prescriptions.

Krysta W.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Respect Your Elder-berries

I have to be honest.   Elderberries, or Sambucus, are not one of the first berries that come to mind when I think “berries.”  But all of that is about to change.  It turns out the health benefits of elderberries are too awesome to be ignored.  According to those in the know at, the elderberry:
  • Is a powerful antioxidant
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves vision
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves heart health
This little berry can be taken and is effective for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis.  According to a study done in Norway and published at, a random study was done on influenza patients with the following results, "Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza."

elderberry health benefits
Elderberries - a hidden health fruit!
There are also herbalists that believe the chemicals in the black elderberry have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties.  This is also reflected in the University of Maryland Medical Center article on elderberries.  The benefits of elderberry juice were even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Who could argue with health information like that?

Elderberry health benefits can be found in drug stores and grocery stores and even the wine store in items like:
  • Elderberry cough syrup
  • Elderberry extract
  • Elderberry juice
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Elderberry tea
  • Elderberry wine
  • Elderberry jelly
The elderberries nutritional information is impressive.  Sambucus elderberry contains vitamins A, B, C and amino-acids.  Other elderberry benefits include carotenoids and flavonoids which have a huge impact on the immune system.  As a food there is a load of nutrition packed in these tiny little berries.  Like many berries with a deep rich color, such as these, some consider them a “Superfood.”

Although elderberries are a great source for vitamins, if you are taking medication of any kind, be sure to check with your pharmacist especially if you are looking for a flu or cold remedy.  It should not replace your medication without the supervision of your doctor and NEVER mix herbs with your medications or with other
elderberry syrup
Health benefits by the  bunch!

In the Natural

Elderberry plants are not actually plants, but more like a tree.  My sister grows one in her backyard, but they can also be found in the wild.  They typically grow where there is water nearby.

There are some cautions that come with this powerful little berry.  Black elderberry extract is considered safe when used for up to five days, but it’s not known what the effects are of taking elderberry juice extract for long periods of time.

The cooked elderberry fruit is safe for consumption.  But the raw and unripe fruit could cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.  Only fully ripe or cooked berries are safe so don't pick it off the tree and eat it!     You should never eat the stems, unripe berries, or any other part of the elderberry plant.  But don’t let fear stop you from enjoying the elderberry syrup benefits or the elderberry juice benefits; it could be just what your body needs.

Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise, and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

Thursday, August 9, 2012

FamilyWize Employee Insight: What's the "Wizest" Thing You've Ever Heard?

Being a part of a community service organization, like FamilyWize, allows every employee to hear some really great things; compliments, suggestions, and stories.  You name it, we've heard some great ones!  Besides the knowledge of everything FamilyWize, we have all these shared "Wize" words stored in our heads from partners, pharmacists, and prescription drug card customers.   We thought we would dust them off and share with you what the FamilyWize discount drug card is doing for others!  Wisdom is meant to be shared because at times we all need to be a little bit "wizer."

Kathy, Program Coordinator

What is the "Wizest" thing I’ve been told by a United Way colleague?  Wize, and memorable too!  Earlier this year, I spoke with an executive director of one of the United Ways we partner with.  The United Way really appreciates the FamilyWize partnership as well as how much it has helped many of their community residents with great savings on their prescription medications!

prescription assistance
Wize sayings to live by!
"Wize" part: The Executive Director let me know that they had an older woman come into their United Way asking for prescription assistance and really she was asking for “help” to be able to afford medications for herself and her elderly husband.  She obtained and used the FamilyWize discount card a few times.  However, her husband was somewhat stubborn and a total “unbeliever” to even try to use the FamilyWize savings card.  It took some coaxing and relaying her savings amount to make him a believer.  Finally he tried using the FamilyWize prescription savings card.  And much to his skepticism, he actually saved a great deal on his essential medications.
The elderly woman informed the United Way Executive Director about this great “success story” of someone there using the FamilyWize card.  At the United Way they continue to tell the story about turning a “non-believer" into a "believer!"

Kim, Program Coordinator

The ‘wizest’ thing I have been told thus far in my career at FamilyWize was by a pharmacist.  When I went to fill my prescriptions at my regular pharmacy, I thought I would introduce myself and see if the pharmacy was familiar with the program I helped implement.  He had heard of the program, but didn't know too much about it, so I explained to him who can use the prescription discount card and how it works

I also shared our new feature to the program that allows peopleto text "RX to the phone number "700700" and get a FamilyWize card right to their phone.  I thought I would share it with the pharmacist and his techs since it's an easy way for uninsured or underinsured customers to get help right away.   His exact words to me were “Wow! You guys are on the bleeding edge of technology!"  That made me chuckle, and him chuckle, too.  The pharmacist saying that made me realize FamilyWize is truly a step ahead and has found another way to reach those who need help filling prescriptions. 

Dave, Team Leader

Because the FamilyWize program has no registration or sign-up requirement, many people comment on how easy it is to let others know about the program.  The Rx discount cards are free and can be given away to anyone and everyone we meet!  What an excellent way to strike up a conversation with a total stranger!  One of the wizest things I have ever heard is, "the FamilyWize card is a vehicle to provide an act of random kindness."  I never thought about it, but it's very true! 

Some pretty wise things, right?! Whether you use the technology or are looking to provide someone with an act of random kindness, it only takes a few seconds to help someone in need.

Now that we've shared with you, share with us.  What's the wizest thing YOU have been told?  Our ears (and comment box) are open! 
Krysta W.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Savings at the Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market Stand
Ma & Pa produce stand that gets the job done.
I have to be honest with you that I am not a big Farmer's Market shopper.  Mainly because I live in a small rural community and we don't have the big demand for it and we only have a Farmer's Market every weekend.  I know, CRAZY!!!  Not to mention Safeway is only a 30 second drive and when I am in the mood for some good veggies and fruit I don't want to wait for the weekend.  What we do have are the Ma and Pa farms with fruit stands that you can go to and purchase all the fresh produce you want and also plenty of flowers and some nuts.  You can even purchase homemade salsa that will please your taste buds.

fruit produce
Fresh wholesale fruits are a great find.
When I started on my 40 minute trip to the local Farmer's Market to see what kind of money saving tips I could tell everyone, I really didn't know what to expect.  I was actually pleasantly surprised when I got there and saw all the variety of home grown and wholesale products that was offered to me.  When I think of a Farmer's Market I think of fruits and vegetables with maybe some flowers.  To my pleasant surprise it had everything I could think of.  From the typical farm produce you see at market stands to wine, cooking oil, eggs, jams, chocolates, and seaweed.  You name it they had it.  As for the prices, their farm fresh produce wasn't much different from the grocery store prices.  There were some things that were cheaper like my favorite zucchini (3 for $1), plums (.99 per pound), nuts ($1.99 per bag, awesome) and  the flowers (.10 per flower).  I also bought some nectarines for $1.99 per pound which I thought was a good deal since that is what I usually get it for at the grocery store when they are on sale.  I actually went to the store that same day to pick up some things and saw them on sale for .99 per pound.  So that ended up not being better but the Farmer's Market nectarines were locally grown and fresher so it wasn't a complete bust.

Farmers market Flowers
Money saving finds in fresh flowers, produce.
I did notice that there were some big price differences with the flowers, nuts, jams, local wines, and homemade products.  I think I would just go every weekend to purchase those products.  I am not a big flower person but when I saw all the different types, I think I became one.  You can do so many different arrangements on your own and save big bucks.  I purchased a bundle of flowers for $2.00, YES $2.00.  That same bouquet at the flower or grocery store would have been at least $20.00.  Just on that savings alone you can pay a little extra for your fruit and vegetables and do all your shopping in one place.  As for the local wines we live just North of Napa Valley so we are still considered wine territory and there are always good deals on the local wines.

Wines, Vinegars, Farmers Market
Great sauces, wines, and oils were
throughout the Farmer's Market with great prices!
The bottom line on saving at the Farmer's Market is that it all depends on what you buy.  If you are going there solely to buy produce you may not save much. If you are going there to just check things out and browse around and see what kind of deals you can get you will save. I personally just liked the atmosphere of the Farmer's Market and I would go just for that alone.  As for the fresh fruits and vegetables I would purchase what I could get for a good deal since my family isn't too picky and whatever I brought home they would eat without any complaints.

The Farmer's Market was very lively but quaint at the same time and not to mention smelled great.  When I left I felt healthier and more peaceful for some reason.  Call it coincidence or maybe since I knew I was buying healthier and giving back to my community I felt better about myself.  Just that alone will get me back to the Farmer's Market next week.

Contributing Writer

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bankrupt Food Banks? A Nationwide Risk!

I remember the angst and helplessness I felt when volunteering at a church’s once-a-week food shelter and realizing that the number of cars lining up at the food pantry’s door was far greater than the number of bags of groceries we were handing out.  Saying “Sorry, folks, no more!” to those who were too far back in the car line was painful.

I’d like to think that my experience at that food bank was an isolated one.  But the reality is that donations to food banks are down from coast to coast.  Simultaneously, food shelters are seeing record numbers of those seeking help in feeding their families.

The Critical Status of Free Food Banks Today

Foodbank donations
Local church food panty collects donations for their food bank.
There’s an unfortunate bit of irony that occurs whenever the country is in a season of economic difficulty; at the very time when the ranks of un- and underemployed are growing, organizations that offer free groceries to the needy suffer from declining donations. The result:  food bank bankruptcy!

According to the nonprofit organization Feeding America, "48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.6 million adults and 16.2 million children."  They also reported that requests for emergency food assistance were up by 30 percent in 2008 from the previous year.  And with the unemployment in many areas even higher today than in 2008, these statistics only get worse.  Many local food banks are reporting greater than 20 percent increases in customers and greater than 40 percent increases in free food distributed.  And this is at a time when the New York Times reports that local food pantries or free food banks are reporting critical food shortages in the USA, forcing them to ration supplies and distribute staples usually reserved for disaster relief.  Some have even had to close their doors due to lack of support.

Perform a search on Bing or Google for “food bank shortage” and you will be overwhelmed by the barrage of news articles regarding food banks across the country that are unable to keep up with the demand from those in need of groceries.

To get a grip on the food bank situation in your area, simply add the name of your town or county to the search; chances are you’ll find news and announcements of empty local food pantry shelves within miles of your own home.

I suppose a problem with food or dollar donation shortages should not be surprising, as many of those who make food bank donations become the ones in need when unemployment rates are high.

Food Crisis in America

Government, organizations, and individuals recognize the food crisis in the USA.  Many people wrongly assume that their tax dollars can handle this food problem.  But we all have to do our part. The government provides resources such as food stamp programs and the WIC program – Women, Infant, and Children – providing food donations or groceries to those in need.  But it is not nearly enough in times like these when the need is greater than the supply of programs. 

A food shortage isn't just a government problem - it is a people problem.  If everyone stepped up to help out their neighbors, families wouldn't have to choose between buying groceries or making the rent or mortgage payment.  At times like this free food banks become a critical resource.

You Can Help Solve the Food Crisis!

The purpose of this blog post is to increase awareness of the food bank shortages and to identify solutions.  The good news is, there are many ways you can help your community to overcome this food bank crisis.
Local Food Pantry
Non-perishable foods feed many families in need.
  • Make regular food donations – Nearly every community has free food banks, and I’ve never heard of one suffering from too many donations.   If you’re not sure where your neighborhood’s food banks are, inquire at any church.  If they don’t have their own food bank program, such as a church food pantry, they likely participate in the food shelter program of another church or neighborhood organization that would be grateful for your canned food donations or financial support. 
  • Become a food shelter volunteer – If you’ve never volunteered at a food bank or pantry, you’re missing out on one of life’s great blessings.  How you feel about yourself at the end of the day after spending a few hours as a food shelter volunteer is immeasurable and good for the soul.  Consider involving your whole family in the food shelter volunteering effort; your children mature in healthy ways when they are raised to recognize the needs of others and develop a habit of taking action to reduce the misery of others.  The good thing about volunteering is that it allows you to help the food banks even when your own resources are too limited to donate food or funds.
  • Support a food bank by starting a grocery drive – If your church or workplace doesn’t already have a food bank support program, work with the leadership to start one!  It’s as easy as distributing paper bags and announcing the food drive to the congregation or employees, explaining what kinds of grocery donations are needed and by when.  Even if your workplace or church already has a holiday grocery drive, food banks need support even when there’s not a holiday, so…   :-)
  • Start a food bank! – in the unlikely event that your town or region has no food banks, consider starting one.  Talk with a church or leaders in your community to enlist their help.
Oh, and there’s one more thing you can do to help:

Share This Article with Others

This is something you can do right now – yes, this very minute; copy the Web address to this blog and forward it by e-mail, Facebook, or Google+ to your friends and relatives.  Help us double the awareness of this national food bank crisis and you’ll be helping to put food on the table of those in need.

We would also love to hear of your experiences volunteering or giving to a food bank.  Give a shout out to your local food pantry and thank them for their dedication!

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer