A lot of people don't realize their local food banks aren't only for homeless people or really poor people. They're for everyone. My local food bank and toiletries pantry have no income restrictions. We make the median income for our town, which is higher than the country's average. We aren't poor. We aren't starving. What we are is living paycheck to paycheck and we need help getting out of our rut so we can quit this crisis living. So, I am going to start patronizing our local food share programs. In return, I'm going to volunteer 4-6 hours a month and when we're financially stable again, I'm going to give food back.
My system will look like this:
Volunteer 2 days a month for several hours. I'll be stocking shelves, unloading trucks, soliciting donations, or serving other patrons.
In return, I'll get 9-12 meals worth of food, a monthly savings of approximately $50. In our current budget, that's a whole week of food money.
If you haven't done the math already, that's about $10 per hour of volunteering, which is well above my state's minimum wage.
Instead of relying on credit cards to feed your family in a time of crisis or at the end of the month when you're out of money, use your community's resources to help stay on track or get ahead. But remember them when you're done using their services as they rely on donations to continue helping people.