I've been averaging 16hrs a day worth of work the last week, which is why you han't been seeing many posts coming from my keyboard lately... Given the press of work (we're finishing a couple large projects) I very nearly bowed out of a long scheduled volunteer activity I'd signed up for with some business associates: doing a 4hr shift at the Capitol Area Food Bank sorting donations. In the end, though, I felt too guilty about saying "I'm too busy making money to go help the poor" so I went ahead and went.
I'm glad I did. Pulling non-perishables off a conveyer belt and sorting them into boxes by category is actually an amazingly good "break" from working at a computer screen day and night. And goodness knows it doesn't hurt me to go out and do some manual labor for a good cause once in a while.
A few things struck me while boxing all that food. (They told our team when we went off shift that our volunteer group had packaged over 3000lbs of it.)
Generally speaking, canned food is cheap food. But what is it with canned vegetables? I guess they're perfect for something like a food bank, since they don't go bad, but generally frozen or fresh vegetables are the same price or cheaper and much, much better (both better for you and better tasting.)
Given what staples of good, cheap food they are, I was amazed how few people had donated pasta, pasta sauce, rice and refried beans. Along with bread, tortillas and soup bases, you could live off these for long periods of time (and so we did during some early stages of the Darwin household economy...) Maybe canned goods are just what occur to most people when asked to donate food. Plus, the packaging for rice and pasta tends to be less in-destructable than cans. Still, the food is much better, and there's way more nourishment per pound in rice and pasta than in canned goods.