A day in the life of a food hamper


Here is the second installment in our series of photo essays detailing our hampers and a little bit about the people who come to us for assistance.

Is this a box of food that would last your family three to five days?

One of many food hampers given out on October 29 2009

October 29 2009 – Family of three

Seventy-four families came into our program and received emergency food today. This number includes a family of three consisting of a single mother, her two-year-old daughter, and her boyfriend who had just moved in with them. The couple, who both recently found themselves unemployed, are facing a financial crisis. The sudden job losses have not only left them scrambling to keep a roof over their heads but have also left them struggling to find enough money for transportation to job interviews,  income support program appointments, and to purchase necessities such as diapers, and healthy food.

A recent public health study indicates that to feed this family of three it would cost at least $120.57 each week for basic nutritious food alone. Consequently, this family did not hesitate to check off every food item and category on our intake food list slip.

This slip is given each time a family visits for them to mark off the items they would like to receive.

The food list consists of 14 of our most consistently donated food items such as cereal, pasta, vegetables, fruit, peanut butter, milk, frozen meat and is something that we give patrons each time they visit us. This list has evolved over the years and is a way to provide some choice to our patrons in a way that is quick, easy, and effective. On this particular day, the family was able to receive quantities of everything they requested except for rice, canned meat, and beans in sauce.

Shown in the photo is the amount of food the family of three received today. This should last them approximately three to five days. Along with the hamper, the family could choose extras we put out in our “lobby” or waiting room. Extras can include unusual food items (like hot peppers, eggplant, lotus root, kohlrabi, collard greens to name a few) or large quantities of food we get donated to our program. Bread, plantain and boniatos were available for the day, and the family took some plantain, along with recipes on how to bake them.

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