The “Teddy Bear Foundation” is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of caring for homeless veterans. We accomplish this by donations and working with programs that help provide meals, clothing, and ultimately the transition for many Veterans to full-time employment and life from the streets. The first thing you’re going to require if you plan, feeding homeless veterans is, the food, wouldn’t it be nice if there were plans to get it at no cost to you?
How to Get Food?
My ministry runs primarily off leftovers from work and my involvement; there are countless sources of leftovers from grocery stores, eateries, gas stations and many others that would be willing to give you the food if you just stopped and explained to them what you’re arranging. They’re only intending on throwing out the food anyway, so all you need to do is ask them for it before it closes up there. If you think they’ll be concerned about legal obstacles or liability, skip it down.
Besides asking businesses for their leftovers, you could also request food banks or other services which distribute food and tell them what you’re doing. My company used to have a connection with a mega-ministry that shared meals in the community. We picked up their extra produce and used it to create food products. Our collaboration was just supposed to pick up milk, but inevitably the pantry would get way more of other food than they could use. There would be 30 lb cartons of frozen chicken, gallons of milk, and carrots. The pantry never had a lack of food. Nowadays my brother-in-law is a mentor, and once a week his school is visited by a van from the local food bank, and they give meals to the kids. When the giveaway is over my brother in law, let them understand that how I use the menu and they furnish him with anything that is left over. I’ve gotten dozens of loaves of bread and hot dog buns from these folks.
Very Affordable Places to Get Food
While the main course comes from work, there is also inescapably times where I need further than just that to execute the menu I have in memory. For those times, there are three sites that I go. First I check the neighborhood discount grocery store; this is a supermarket that trades “second-hand groceries.” All the outputs here are stuff that gets discarded from big grocery stores for one reason or another. The cans have a dent or missing labels, they sell Halloween candy at Christmas time, and the eggs are a day past their “expiration date” (skip down to Legal Questions for my rant about “expiration” dates). It is an excellent place to get stuff that is very inexpensive, but you never know what they might have and what state it might be in, so for those conditions, I go to my second stop. The local dollar store is also a great place to get very affordable food that is as good as what I can buy at the “real” grocery next door to it. The dollar store even has name brand products – granted they are smaller sizes, but still, brand names for $1 plus tax are still pretty cool.
By the way, while you’re at a concession grocery store or dollar store, pick up an aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and a stack of aluminum foil pans. At my discount market store, you can get scratched aluminum pans for actually a few cents.
And finally, I don’t do it often, but I also have a fellowship to Costco Wholesale for my company. I don’t get much food for the service from Costco, but it is a great place to get paper plates, bowls, and plastic forks, spoons. I don’t understand food here because it usually tends to be more than I need for the small meals that I’m currently doing but back when I was volunteering at the soup kitchen, having a Costco membership saved our hides more often than not. The most expensive way to get food. Let me also just mention that the most costly way to get food for the hungry, but the way that will take you the least amount of time and work is to buy pre-packaged food. Pick up 20 $1 burgers and give them to all the folks holding cardboard signs by the freeway or grab six pizzas and take them to the park where you know hungry people congregate. It can add up, but this is an excellent method for those of us who have a full schedule.