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  1. Good points Karen, but you have to look at all sides too. My parents could only afford grits and fish (that they caught) for most meals when they were first married. My mother didn't eat either of them for years and years while we were growing up. But, she would put them (grits) in the food boxes because she did remember that they are inexpensive (so she could give more), filling, and warm on a cold night. I'm sure that is what the thought on the hominy was. My Mom would have figured, if they were good enough for her in down times, they should be good enough for others! Bread is ridiculous – I hardly eat it anymore. I won't buy the cheap processed stuff so to get "healthy" bread, it is 4-5 bucks for me too. My solution is to limit myself to about a loaf every 3-4 weeks. When it's not so processed, it lasts longer too! We are starting to buy some organic things and just like you, the cost can be double or more. We are trying to cut out that nasty high fructose corn syrup so things like ketchup are now double the cost. It's that old, pay me now (with money) or pay me later (with health)! Food is one area that Europeans beat us on; but I still wouldn't trade my good ole USA!! Just a cool thing that Kennies started last year and is doing this year is they make up brown grocery bags (2 sizes; a $5 and a $10) of pantry foods for the food bank and have them near the checkout. After you pay, on the way out, they have a bin to drop them in. I LOVE it – it couldn't get any easier to help those in need. The joys of living in a small town! Thanks for your thoughts, I will keep them in mind when buying for food drives now!

  2. Karen, your comments about adding the gluten free food to food boxes is right on target. I never thought about it but do now as we found out that a friend is gluten-intolerant and possibly both of her youngsters. If they had to receive a donation box and it didn't contain gluten free foods, they'd be in trouble. That's why I am careful about even donating something as good as peanut butter because so many today are allergic to peanuts.

  3. Hi Karen,
    I've never known anyone who had to follow a gluten-free diet but it sounds pretty time consuming and expensive. It's like sugar-free or fat-free diets (I've done both, being diabetic), when the calories and fat are removed, it costs twice as much. Go figure!
    As for the hominy…being born and raised Southern, that is one delight I have not tried although I do love grits. I may have to get me a can of hominy just to check it out.

  4. At $7.50 a loaf, I think I would learn to bake my gluten free bread if I had children to feed! Like Cheryl said, Phil and I pay almost $3 for our bread because we buy specialty bread with high fiber and no sugar since I am diabetic. However, I've always wondered why a food product always costs more when they leave the sugar out. Hmmmmm? Odd, don't you think!
    hugs,
    Joy

  5. Cheryl: That is a good point, one that I have never thought of, although I have always thought that i my children won't eat something, it is a waste of money no matter who spent it. If my own family won't eat something, I am not going to put it in a donation box. I want the receiving family to have as good a meal as I am going to have.

    Arnette: I usually put in things like tuna, salmon, rice, evaporated milk, gluten free bread mix, and a couple of canned veggies. Maybe a box of gluten free cereal. It is really hard to stay gluten free, it would be really hard when you are on the downside in hard times.

    Susan: Yes, take out the wheat, and you are left with expensive flours–that is why gluten free costs more.

    Joy: I do make my own bread often, but sometimes I just want the convenience of grabbing a loaf of bread and making a sandwich. I don't donate ready cooked gluten free bread to food drives, because I don't know how long it will be before the products are distributed. But I have donated gluten free bread mixes and baking mixes. I know how sick I get when I eat gluten, so I can feel the empathy of someone who is out of a job and out of money and having to go to the food bank. If I can make their day a little bit better by making a gluten free mix available to them, that just makes ME feel better.

  6. Karen I am moved by your post and delighted you have such engaged readers! Your sentiments echo mine as I have always wanted to have a soup and fruit drive for food banks so families have more options when eating. At our food bank, there are about 100 cans of green beans and corn for every can of soup or chile. I have always wondered if many families sit down and have 3 cans of green beans for a meal.

    Like you, I give from my abundance, rather then from my scarcity. Even if we only have a couple cans of soup or fruit when there is a canned food drive, we give it, as we know how tough it can be to make a meal for your family with less.

    I like to encourage people to spend the same amount of money they do now and be more thoughtful in what they give. With only $1 per week someone could give at least one large can of soup and one can of fruit in natural juice. The need for crackers, cookies, pasta and snacks that are healthier and gluten free is very high. Imagine a family working two to four jobs that pay minimum wage and then tell me when they have time to bake bread from scratch. And where do they get the money for a $15 bag of Xanathum Gum? If you family food budget is only $75 it's pretty tough to spend $15 for something like Xanathum Gum. And who is supplying the Kitchen Aide Mixer and the other vital tools we need to make gluten free products more easily? And what if you aren't any good at baking?

    I apologize if I get upset in the process of helping people think differently about deeply held beliefs. I'll close by reinforcing your suggetion that people donating are best at giving if they imagine that the family receiving their donation has nothing else to eat. Just your donation. For many, that's all they have. Give wisely.

    May God bless you for your beautiful heart, Karen!

    Gluten Free Dee
    http://www.GlutenFreeDee.com

  7. I've always thought there needed to be a way to help people with food allergies at the local food bank. Growing up it was just my mother who is handicapped and myself. We lived off of money from the government and slept on the floor of local churches for a part of my life.

    My mother has celiac and growing up I had no idea why she was always in so much pain from eating stuff that didn't bother me. A lot of the food we ate was provided by our local food pantry, and thats all there was.

    The problem with trying to help local food pantries is education. Most people don't understand that a gluten free flour is any different, and many of the items I've donated went to people who didn't need it. I wish there was some kind of larger organization that could educate the different food pantries. I've tried, but so far it hasn't been working much.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story Gabby. I just had breadfast with the Executive Director of an agency providing shelter in churches for families getting back on their feet. She talked about clients asking for special food and thought they were just being picky to get better food. It was terrible to hear. She had a better understanding of how to meet special needs of such clients after we talked and I told her I'd help.

    In adition, we are setting up a systematic process to educate food banks around the nation on how to set up and maintain a gluten free section. We're going to pair local volunteers with each food bank who can help sort and support. The third tier is setting up a corporate giving clearinghoue so GF food manufacturers can give on a regular basis.

    Stay tuned. We'll be releasing informtion as quickly as possible. You can now subscribe to my blog (thanks to the tech support of Heidi Kelly http://www.AdventuresofaGlutenFreeMom.wordpress.com)

    Gluten Free Dee
    http://www.GlutenFreeDee.com

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