A Week’s Worth of Food Pantry Meals

May 14, 2020

The Hammond-Munster Salvation Army Corps Community Center received this lovely thank-you note from a recipient of their food pantry. Her letter speaks to the realities of those who visit our pantries – especially during this pandemic. Captain Brian Clark, the Hammond-Munster corps officer and Lake County Coordinator, said, “Stories like this really hit home that we are needed more than ever.”

We are impressed by this woman’s creativity – in both meal planning and grocery shopping! It is our privilege to serve her and all our neighbors in need as we keep Doing the Most Good in response to COVID-19.

I want to thank your organization for the great service I have received when coming to the food pantry. To not be judged takes a weight off of one’s bruised pride. Many see my physical appearance and automatically jump to conclusions. From living beyond ones means, to money mismanagement, etc.


Those that know me wonder how a woman that has a Master's degree would need such services. Yes, I dress nicely (I shop in thrift stores or clearance racks), have a nice vehicle (mandatory for my line of work, however excellent credit affords me low payments and interest rates), owning my home (mortgage payments are $600).


However, working in the social service sector does not provide luxuries. We (my coworkers and I) are literally living paycheck to paycheck while making positive impacts on over 1,000 lives and families in northwest Indiana. My calling is to uplift and empower others.


When one looks beyond the surface, what they will learn is that I have 22 diagnoses, see 6 specialists, and take many medications. Copays, premiums needing to be met, and paying for medication has been so costly that I, at times, won’t get the medication. Due to supply and demand on particular medications, the price fluctuates.


Although I budget, coupon, clearance shop, etc., there are times that being able to eat decent meals is dependent upon coming to your organization. The smiles, the conversations, the warmth from staff and volunteers alike can be the light in someone’s day. Please keep it up.


As I try to be an example to the families I serve and to some of my coworkers, and to squash the stigma associated with needing pantries (especially during this pandemic), I have created daily menus called “Food Pantry Meal Chronicles.” I discuss with my clients and coworkers what I was able to receive, or they let me know what they receive, then create meals accordingly. My routine is to see what meals can be created without purchasing anything, and then meals that can be created with only purchasing minimal items.


I am sharing that with you as I am always grateful for that which is received. Attached is a list of what I received when visiting your pantry last week. This allowed for 21 meals with some items to spare.


Gratitude can never be expressed enough. Thank you!




Meat: 4 lbs pork taco filling, 1 whole chicken, 1 pound bacon, 5 lbs diced chicken, can of ground pork

Sides: bag of red potatoes, box of macaroni and cheese, can of potatoes, bag of white potatoes, bag of rice

Vegetables: can of corn, 2 cans green beans

Fruit: bag of dried fruits and nuts, can of pears, 2 cans peaches, can of applesauce, bag of lemons

Misc.: bag of Twix, bag of no-bean chili, 1 lb mild cheddar cheese, bag of multigrain rings cereal, box of bran flakes cereal, Oreo perfect size Duncan Hines, can of spaghetti sauce, can of tomato sauce, can of cream of mushroom soup, mini cartons of orange juice, chocolate donuts, loaf of rye bread, loaf of wheat bread



spaghetti noodles ($1), diced onion blend ($1), black beans ($1), tortilla shells ($1), salsa ($1), salad (free, redeemed Monopoly instant-winner ticket), box of green tea ($1)

Total: $6




Breakfast: bacon, hash browns

Lunch: chili cheese fries

Dinner: baked chicken, mac and cheese, sautéed green beans, homemade peach lemonade



Breakfast: multigrain rings, applesauce

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: shredded pork- and bacon-loaded mashed red potatoes, green tea



Breakfast: bran flakes with pears added, orange juice

Lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup

Dinner: chicken and rice bake (with cream of mushroom soup), homemade peach lemonade



Breakfast: donut, dried fruit and nuts, orange juice

Lunch: BBQ chicken sandwiches, homemade potato chips

Dinner: taco soup (with ½ can corn, ½ can black beans, tortilla strips), green tea



Breakfast: multigrain rings cereal, orange juice

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: chicken spaghetti, garlic bread, homemade peach lemonade



Breakfast: bran flakes, orange juice

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: chicken chipotle rice bowls (with ½ can corn, ½ can black beans), green tea



Breakfast: toast, dried fruit and nuts

Lunch: chicken salad sandwiches, fries

Dinner: tacos, salad, homemade peach lemonade


Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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