Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Recentering at the Food Bank

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.


Kiwi Nomad said...

They have a big food bank collection here town-wide in a few weeks before Christmas. They deliver a plastic bag to households with suggested items listed on the outside. Pasta and rice are always included.
St Vincent de Paul here recently specifically requested rice for some Burmese refugees about to arrive in town.

Maureen said...

Yep, manual labor is good for the soul. Something about working with your hands -- expecially in the service for others.

I think that it has a lot to do with being made in God's image -- He loves to makes things. He made the earth and everything in it, all for us. In turn, its natural for us to want to do something similar.

And, I so agree on the canned vs. frozen vegetable thing. You've inspired me to write on this topic for my Thrifty Homeschooler email list.

When we were first married, my husband, raised on canned veggies, was truly impressed with my culinary skills. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I use only frozen or fresh vegetables. In fact, I heard him one Thanksgiving scolding his sister for using canned corn -- too funny.

It's been said that eating frozen is just as good or better than eating fresh. The reason is the vegetables are picked when perfectly ripe and immediately frozen. Fresh produce, on the other hand, is picked when under-ripe so it will be just ripe when it hits the stores. Interesting.