Since I wrote “that post” about the struggles of being a single Mum I have been given much advice on where to turn for help. I must admit there is a lot more help out there for anyone needing it, much more help than I ever thought.
I never really feel comfortable seeking help from charities. After all, aren’t they for people who are in trouble financially or who can’t manage. Like single Mums with lots of ki…….. um, hmmm, OK, so that’s me and I’m at a point where I need to start seeking help wherever I can. Sometimes though I feel that I am not “needy” enough and may be taking away from other people who are in much worse situations than me. But then I look at the nearly $1000 electricity bill and the incoming money which isn’t going to come close to covering it and I realise I’m not in a great position here.
So today I headed off to the local Food Co-Op to see what they had on offer grocery wise to help me.
As I walked in I was met by a volunteer, a lovely elderly lady called Pat who explained to me how things worked. I immediately launched into why I needed to shop there thinking I had to justify my being there to which she replied that everyone is welcome to shop regardless of their situation. She pointed me to some meal packages they put together that include all the vegetables, meat and condiments to make certain meals. These were priced from $5 to $8.50 and fed 4 people. Perfect. Pat walked around with me pointing out everything, what the bargains were, the heavily reduced items that were out of date and baby items including the brands I’d normally buy which were half the price.
I saw other people coming in, it was a real sense of community. Like an old style corner store, everyone knew everyone else. I left with all this which cost a tiny $50!!! Considering I had been paying $200+ a week for groceries, to buy all of this that included everything for 5 meals plus things like Pull Ups, baby wipes, laundry soaker for $50 was amazing and a huge relief.
I decided to cook one of the meals for dinner and it was now that I not only appreciate the monetary value but also the time saved. Everything was measured out, all I had to do was chop some fresh veg which I did in the food processor and throw it in the oven. This took less than 5 minutes to prepare.
So while dinner cooked I was able to feed the baby, clean up and properly supervise homework.
The meal (Tomato Mac and Cheese) was packed with vegies and the kids loved it. Best part was there were left overs for later in the week. Friday night in our house is left over night.
The price and ease of cooking alone has given me the motivation to go back next fortnight.
This particular Food Co-Op was open to everyone and run by the local council, contact your local council or government to see what other similar services they may offer or speak to them about offering a Food Co-Op service as this week it has been a life saver. I can’t wait for the day when I can pay forward!
What hidden gems have you found in your local community?