Have you ever seen a statement from a foodshelf that says something to the effect that they appreciate donations of goods, but donations of dollars even more, since they can stretch the dollar with bulk purchasing? Well, there are several programs available that can help give you the power of bulk purchasing.
Most frugal shoppers can easily save 20% or more by coupon and sale shopping on many products. However, where these programs really come in handy are in the areas of the grocery store where these kinds of savings aren’t possible: meat and produce.
Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational food sharing organization. According to their website, when they comparison shop their packages, they save 42-78% over retail. They are not available in every state, but their goal is to become available country-wide. They also donate money to the host sites. Sample menus can be found at this link and to search for a site near you go here. (Not available in Arizona, Nevada; some states have limited availability.)
Fare for All is a program of the Emergency Foodshelf Network in Minnesota. They have distribution sites all around the state for the monthly pickups. They also have a few metro-area sites that don’t require advance purchase, called Fare for All Express. Typical package contents can be found at this link and distribution sites are found here.
Neither program has eligibility requirements. I have participated in FFA for several months now, and I can definitely say that they don’t exaggerate the savings. My packages come full of food, and even though I’m a frugal shopper, it definitely saves me money. I ordered a Grill Pack in July, and it worked out to about $1.40 per pound for various types of meat, including hot dogs, brats, hamburger patties, chicken, and more. The food is sometimes “off-brand” (noor other major brands) but it is always good-quality food and fresh produce.
If you can participate in one or the other, I strongly encourage it! The more people that participate in programs like this, the more the power of bulk purchasing grows.
Note from Christina for my local readers in Northern Minnesota: A quick check of both websites didn’t show any locations on the Iron Range. But I think there is a similar program to these ones in Hibbing. Anyone know the details?