My income has gone down quite a bit over the last few months. I guess I wasn’t prepared for this, though I should have been. With these cuts in pay, and the whole whopping $121.00 in foodstamps that my family receives, I have been feeling the need to cut costs wherever I can, simply to prepare for next winter. We won’t make it if I don’t do something, so I decided to check out Crossroads Ministries.
The flyer that I had seen said that this place was a thrift store, so I figured that I could get some of my groceries there at a bit of a discount. Going with the saying that “every penny counts,” I figured I’d give the place a try. My daughter, nephew and I walked over to the next town to visit the place. The people were very helpful, very nice. I had to fill out a short application and show my ID, but that was all.
I took out a couple of tote bags and started looking around, while a woman put three dozen large eggs in one of my bags. I took a salad mix, a romaine mix, some baby spinach and some grapes and put them into the bag.
She took another bag from me and asked what else we would like. I was wondering how much all of this stuff was going to cost me, because I didn’t see any price tags. She put a couple of cans of vegetables in my bag, and I added a can of baked beans. Then two boxes of whole wheat pasta, and some dried beans. I also ended up with a loaf of whole wheat bread.
I said that I thought that was all that we needed for now, and asked how much it was all going to cost. She told me that it was free. I was shocked, but pleased.
She told me that I could come in once a week for food. Now, I have been spending the food stamp money on food, as well as spending quite a bit of my own money on food. Now I can save some of that money each week by going to Crossroads. I am also considering the monthly handouts at the church, if things get too bad.
I am all for free things, being so frugal, but I am also used to paying for most things that we have. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around receiving free food each week, but then I started to think about all of the things that I do for other people:
* I make $100.00 per week babysitting my nephew, so that he can be with a family member. Sometimes I make extra money doing other things and, when I am lucky, I have more children that I babysit. I help his mother homeschool him as well, working 30-40 hours a week doing this.
* Anything that we no longer need is put outside for anyone to take. Many people in my community are hurting money wise, so this is helpful to them.
* We give one of the neighborhood kids the clothes that my daughters grow out of/no longer need.
* I just gave another neighbor with four children a bunch of educational CD-Roms that I took off the computer because my daughters are too old for them now.
* I give food that is given to us (that we won’t eat) to someone who will use it.
* I give almost all of our homeschool stuff away when we are done with it.
* I help anyone who asks around their homes, not expecting to get paid.
* I try to help as many low-income and homeschooling families as I can by giving them information and advice on what to do and where to get help.
I think that I do enough to warrant myself some help when times are tough, so I decided not to have those guilty feelings any more.
Have a nice day, everyone!
P.S. I mentioned to the woman who helped us that we were erring on the vegetarian side, and she was very helpful. I also noticed orga