Tonight was the first time I've volunteered at the food shelf, besides the church shelf stolking events. I brought a full bag of things to donate including 18 boxes of Bounce which I got for free. By the time I left, they were all gone, it doesn't look like something they normally stock which is a shame because you can easily get it for free with coupons.
My job was to shop with the people who came in and I think I did a good job except for forgetting to get one lady her milk. She came back and got it before she left so it turned out fine. I was pretty amazed at how much food and the variety of it that everyone got. From fresh salad mixes to yogurts to bacon and the normal canned and boxed goods. There were even Girl Scout cookies!
What I thought was missing was toiletries, baby food and pet food. There were no feminine products, skin care besides soap or even cosmetics. There was also no pet items and very little baby items, besides some diapers. I'm not sure if this is because there are other sources for those things or if they just don't stock them. If the latter is the case, guess what I'm going to try to get for free?
I can see the food shelf as a good outlet for a dedicated couponer. This week I found 3 boxes of depends on the clearance rack at Walgreens - all free with the coupons I had. I would normally never consider getting them but I knew that I could donate them. If it's free, then why not? And they must have been useful, because they were gone by the time I left tonight.
So my goal is to continue to coupon and find things for free or as near as free as I can, and get as much free stuff to stock the food shelf. Some of the stuff may be a little odd like the Depends, but I believe that they will each make their way into just the right homes.