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Get Free Food If You Need It

Updated on June 21, 2016
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Feed the Hungry | Food Banks

Feed the Hungry logo.
Feed the Hungry logo. | Source
Picture of a food bank.
Picture of a food bank.

Free Food If You Need It

This is about the 2 ways to get free food if you need it. Even the homeless can use one of the ways. My goal in writing this is not to write something entertaining so I win the Pulitzer Prize. It is to help millions of people get food for free if they need it and get volunteers to help.

I believe in karma that means that you will treated the way that you treat others. Jesus said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "As you sow, so shall you reap."

It is also called the golden rule. In Positive Psychology has researched this and found that helping others can bring you extreme happiness.

People think that Mother Teresa who took a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience had a tough life and the billionaires are really happy. But billionaires are always concerned about making another billion and how high they are on the list of richest people.

On the other hand Teresa had nothing to worry about. That is why she took that vow. She knows that she is the one living a life with nothing to worry about except maybe it is a sin to feel so much happiness, while others feel so much misery. She did win the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Donald Trump has said many times that he has a lot of money. Does he ever say that he has lot of fun and is extremely happy? No! There is a story of college students that were studying Positive Psychology. They were out doing good deeds for people and they were be driven home in a van. One guy wanted to be let out 2 miles from where he lived. He took a shovel from an old lady shoveling snow and he started shoveling snow.

A woman in the van saw this and she starting crying. She said that she wanted to marry this guy. That is a true story. A fictional movie was Groundhog Day. A guy played by Bill Murray wanted to have sex with a woman. The day kept repeating and he figured that if he knew enough about her, she would have sex with him. But she always did not want to. He tried many things and they did not work. Finally he had a great time helping people by knowing what would happen that day. He changed. The woman liked who he had become and she had sex with him. But when he woke up, it was the next day!

This is how a human being is made. There is no limit to how good he feels by helping others. There is also almost no limit of pain you can feel by hurting others. Life is there to teach you that the easy way or the hard way. So let me tell you about one guy. Actually I will let Wikipedia tell you about him.

A food bank or foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger.

In North America and Australia, food banks usually operate on the "warehouse" model. They act as food storage and distribution depots for smaller front line agencies; and usually do not themselves give out food directly to the hungry. After the food is collected, sorted, and reviewed for quality, these food banks distribute it to non-profit community or government agencies, including food pantries, food closets, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, and schools.

John van Hengel on Wikipedia [paraphrased]:

He graduated from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin with a degree in Government. John married a model and had two sons. In 1960 his marriage ended in divorce and he headed back to Wisconsin and went to work in a rock quarry. He became partially paralyzed while breaking up a bar fight. John regained his strength swimming laps in a YMCA swimming pool and at the age of 44 became the oldest public lifeguard in Phoenix, Arizona.

John took a vow of poverty upon starting his life in Phoenix. A devout Roman Catholic, John began working at Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix where he drove the bus and coached sports. He also began volunteering at the very busy soup kitchen. John bought an old milk delivery truck for $150 and used it to gather citrus fruit and other foods to bring to the soup kitchen. Every evening John would deliver any surplus to the homeless missions in downtown Phoenix. Searching for an efficient, less time consuming method of distributing this food, John approached Father Ronald Colloty from St. Mary’s Basilica in regards to setting up a warehouse where the missions could come and pick up the food.

The church responded by loaning John $3,000 and an inherited bakery building near skid row. John expanded his food resources upon a discovery behind local grocery stores. A destitute mother of 10 well fed children pointed out “a bank of food” from which she fed her family. Huge amounts of surplus food being thrown out by grocery stores. Food that was frozen but still edible, loose vegetables, stale bread. Within a year John had established the location at which all the food that grocery stores could not sell would be housed and distributed. He named it St. Mary’s Food Bank. In accordance to his vow of poverty, John took no salary during his first decade at St. Mary’s. He wore secondhand clothes, got his food at the food bank and lived in a donated room above a garage.

In 1975 John accepted a $50,000 federal grant which would be utilized to establish eighteen food banks across America. In 1976 John left St. Mary’s Food Bank and established Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America). Guided by John, this organization established food banking standards and guidelines as well as acquisition of food from large national manufacturers. Businesses were able to cut the costs of disposing unusable but edible food as well as taking tax breaks by helping multiple charities.

In 1983 John left Second Harvest to establish Food Banking Inc. John served as a consultant to food banks around the world, traveling to Canada, Mexico, Brussels and Spain to oversee the start up of their food banks. John also helped establish food banks throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

So it all started with one guy. He died on October 5, 2005 at the age of 82. Wikipedia says that he is credited with being the father of food banking.

Now I live in a rural area outside of Phoenix. Busy areas are urban area whereas rural areas are not nearly as busy. I live 10 miles from the nearest store. I did volunteer work at a community center that gave out food given to them by St. Mary's Food Bank. They were 8 miles from me that is still a rural area. I learned from the lady who ran it that people were able to go 7 different places that were close by (within 15 miles) to get free food. Now one person gets a lot of food going to one place.

The place that I volunteered at was called Saguaro Jane's community center. The name has a link to an article about giving food there. Now there are probably about half dozen or more places like this in your area. Ask around. They want you to prove that you have a need. But it does not have to be that big of a need. The above 2011 article mentioned Jack Cline who was 84. He is 88 and still volunteers there. During the summer, when school is out, his daughter (who is teacher) and his grand daughter work there also.

Read above article to get a better idea on what food you can get. On the video one place gives out 70 pounds of free food to a person each month. I estimate that this place gives out 50 pounds of free food every week. Also one place I found, does not need proof of income. Anyone can get free food there.

People on social security can usually qualify to get this. I know of a guy who gets $1,200 a month on disability who still qualifies to get this. They can get whatever stores give them and in the U.S. stores throws away billions of pounds of food every month. You can get fresh organic produce, all sorts of vitamins and frozen pizza that are 30 ounces each. A big thing at Saguaro (name of cactus) Jane's (maybe it is like this at all of them) is to give out a turkey to everyone before Thanksgiving. Last Thanksgiving I helped a neighbor get one that is a single mom with 2 little kids. She had food to eat for many days from that.

It can't hurt to ask. Last time volunteers were supposed to stand at a certain point that everyone passes through and tell them to get in line for a turkey. I watched this process very closely. I found 6 people, out of about 300, that were leaving the door that had not been told about the turkey. So I told them to get in line and get their free turkey even though I am a vegan. On my watch I wanted to make sure that everyone that wanted one, got a free turkey.

So a guy without a home came and got food also. I do not know if that is possible with the other way. If you have a low enough income then you can get food stamps and pay for food at stores with them. Then you can buy whatever qualifies as food. Note that at Sprouts grocery none of their teas qualify as food whereas at Trader Joe's all of their teas qualify as food. So it depends on how they program their register.

This is a federal program that is distributed by each state. The federal program is called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Click on SNAP. It is still called by its old name-- food stamps. To find your local food bank click on Find Your Local Food Bank. Here is a website with other free food programs in Arizona that maybe in your state-- More Food Resources.

Your food bank, closest one to you, should have a place to find food by entering in your zip code. Here is a site that has that for my area-- Arizona. Find a Food Bank Near You. So you can ask someone near you or visit a website. Here is a national federal website but it says that foods are distributed on state level. See this USDA website. It tells about many food programs including the TEFAP program. That stands for The Emergency Food Assistance Program. It says:

Under TEFAP, commodity foods are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to States. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn, distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public.

Some people with low incomes can get free phone service. To see if you qualify visit Assurance Wireless.

C-USA SAAC North Texas Food Bank Visit

U.S. Food Banks Struggle To Keep Up (08/13/2011)


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