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 Post subject: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:43 am 
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Hey Guys,

My best friend has been having the month from Hell - and yes, it is only the third day of November. My friend's car got repo'd - voluntarily, it was from a few years ago when she had a much better paying job, payments were killing her, she lost her job, and since she lives on property, she has a month to move, she got divorced (actually good news, but emotionally rough and he is fighting to not pay any child support), she is down to $200 all told and has 2 children to take care of. She has to wait to unemployment and food stamps to kick in. I want to help her out but don't have a lot of cash to do so and she live pretty far away from me.

So, I was going to send her a care package of a weeks worth of groceries to make supper. I need your ideas. Things need to be cheap, nonperishable, and not need a lot of pantry items because I don't know how stocked her pantry is at this point - things were lean for a bit before this happened.

If I use flat rate boxes, I can send cans of stuff without it getting to costly.

Can you guys please give me some ideas? Cans of soup, and chili, instant falafel, hummus, and tabouli I have already. I kind of want to send full meals if I can - like crackers and such to go with soup.

Thanks so much! I'm planning on sending it out by Friday.


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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:47 am 
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Beans and rice with spice packets would be good.
And I think things like peanut butter would be nice for the kids, maybe granola bars.

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:12 am 
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i would send things like beans, grains, spices. she can add her own veggies and protein and make pretty much anything out of that. maybe some flour and yeast so she can make breads or even just pancakes or whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:16 am 
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I know they're not necessarily SUPER cheap, but I'd probably pony up a bit to send spices, because they are very light and easy to pack (= cheap to ship and cram a LOT of into a USPS Flat Rate box) -- they will bring her much joy throughout the lean times, however long they last. My (non-human) best friend in times of financial strife has always been my agonizingly compiled and insanely comprehensive spice collection.

If you send spices, give her some things that are super-flavorful, like berbere and curry powder, so even when she's down to beans and rice, she can have a delicious Ethiopian or Indian meal -- sending a pack of lentils, a little bag of berbere, and a little bag of curry powder = nearly instant miser wot or dal. TVP would be good, of course. Steel-cut oats, rice, nooch, maybe some nuts?

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:30 am 
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kfad wrote:
Beans and rice with spice packets would be good.


Yeah, these are pretty great. I always buy the Near East ones, but Zatarain's makes really tasty ones as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:34 am 
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Maybe you could also do some research for her and help her find out where and when there are food pantries in her area that could help her out in addition to your kind gift.

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:46 am 
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Is she vegan? I would def send pasta and sauce. Mac & Cheese boxes, ingredients to make a huge pot of chili or stew so she will have leftovers. My WF sells instant 90 second heat rice packs from Seeds of Change, they would be good. I guess you can't send anything frozen or cold? Otherwise I would say veggie burgers or french fries and chicken tenders for the kids. Cereal and soymilk! Granola bars would be good. Bread, lunch meat, and cheese? Oatmeal instant or regular with some cinnamon and walnuts. I'm trying to think of what a non-vegan household with kids would eat in a week.

Super nice of you! You get the friend of the year award!

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:15 am 
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Thanks guys - I did not even think about nut butters, rice and bean packets, or just getting a bag of rice and a bag of beans and some good seasonings.

Awesome ideas! Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:03 am 
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You could also send a gift card to a grocery store they like, but that wouldn't be as fun I suppose!

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:11 am 
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Yeah, gift card to grocery store in their area would be really good in addition to beans and rice. Probably some stock cubes/betterthanbouillion? Maybe a really easy recipe? My favourite recipe right now is the cheapest thing ever (can you guess why it's my fav?)

Preheat oven to 350
2 cups stock
1 onion
3/4 cup lentils
1/2 cup rice (brown or otherwise)
Spices: Basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp each

Bake for 1hr 30 min.

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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:09 am 
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Maybe include some recipes for the ingredients you're sending to her? That way she won't be stuck for what to do with them.

My favourite recipe at the moment - 200g short grain rice, 1 litre stock, a chopped medium sized onion and garlic to taste baked in a casserole dish at 180 degrees for 40 minutes makes a yummy risotto! She can add any other sort of vegetable she likes 10 minutes before the cooking time is up. Plus, risotto is super-filling.


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 Post subject: Re: The Post Where I Beg For Your Help
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:51 pm 
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I think people have covered everything I'd suggest, but if your friend's kids are under 5 (and she lives in the US) WIC could be very helpful.

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