What are your favorite holiday memories? They probably include the special people in your life and amazing holiday treats like gingerbread houses. This year you'll probably celebrate with fewer people and hopefully, the same holiday treats. But many people won't have enough to eat so maybe this year you can create a food basket to donate?
Want to see us delivering our food baskets at Trinity Worship International? Pastor Anderson talked to all of us on Facebook Live and showed off the girl's work …
What Do You Put in a Food Basket?
My granddaughters and I are making food donations to our local food pantry. We're putting together food baskets but not the kind you can buy on Amazon (above). Our focus is on healthy foods that families struggling with food insecurity can't afford.
Fortunately we had an idea of the type of food we should put in our boxes. Last spring when schools shut down, we packed up grocery bags using the list of 10 food items that go into the Green Bag Project's weekend food packs.
Here's where our food donation project got really interesting for the girls (they're 12 and 9). With some guidance, they got to pick the food that would go in the boxes. Here's the food they picked:
|Food Item||Cost/Unit||Qty||Food Cost|
|*** First 3 Protein packed foods ***|
|Tuna fish in water (5 oz)||$0.73/can||4||$2.92|
|Chilli (15 oz)||$1.23/can||2||$2.46|
|Peanut butter (18 oz)||$1.72/jar||2||$3.44|
|Chloe picked grape jelly (20 oz)||$1.88/bottle||1||$1.88|
|Rosa wanted strawberry spread (20 oz)||$2.42/bottle||1||$2.42|
|*** Next 3 Vegetables ***|
|Green beans (14.5 oz)||$0.50/can||2||$1.00|
|Corn (15 oz)||$0.50/can||2||$1.00|
|Diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)||$0.72/can||2||$1.44|
|*** Now 3 Fruits ***|
|Peaches (15.25 oz)||$1.12/can||2||$2.24|
|Pears (15 oz)||$1.12/can||2||$2.24|
|Package of applesauce cups (4 oz)||$0.31/cup||6||$1.84|
|*** Christmas treats & more ***|
|Christmas cookies (12 oz)||$2.88/tin||1||$2.88|
|Candy canes (12 per box)||$1.00/box||1||$1.00|
|Oatmeal (20 packets/box)||$0.16/packet||1||$3.24|
|*** Healthy idea from Chloe ***|
|Bars of soap (3.75/oz)||$1.09/bar||3||$3.27|
|*** Total food cost/box ***||$33.27|
Learning How to Shop for Food Online
At first my plan was to start teaching Rosa how to use Excel. As I headed over to my computer, I realized Rosa could use the Walmart grocery app to add up the cost of the food we planned to put in each basket. It worked well and told us the food would cost $33.27.
With this number, Rosa calculated how many food baskets we could make with our $500 budget for food donations. She came up with 15 baskets plus a little money left for the boxes and ribbon to decorate them.
Walmart became my go to grocery solution about two months into the pandemic. I love keeping their application up throughout the week, adding things to my list as soon as I know what I need. every 7 to 10 days I submit my order and the next day, drive to Walmart where they put all my groceries in the trunk … contactless!
Food Baskets a Great Project for Kids
When we started talking about our food basket project, we didn't estimate the work and time required to complete the project. After all, buying groceries is something we do every week … and it was pretty simple. Here are the steps we took and the challenges we had to deal with, along with how we handled them.
- Identified the food pantry where we could deliver our food donations. It took time to discover mobile food pantries. Our local pantry gets food from Feeding Tampa Bay and volunteers distribute the food twice a month, so we'll volunteer next week.
- Ordered food items online from Walmart. The challenge was Walmart's limit of six cans for most items, so 15 food baskets required 5 orders. To save time I placed multiple orders for the same pickup time slot and only had to make two trips.
- The girls decorated the tops of bankers boxes which we used for our food donations. They got tired halfway through the project, so a competition with prizes was added and the box tops were finished in no time.
- After unpacking and organizing the food, we all got to work packing up our food baskets. With each person (4 of us) putting corn, peaches, etc into all the boxes, we finished the job in about 20 minutes.