Food Insecurity on
The Gulf Coast:
Resource List & Tips
I’m seeing a lot of posts from local moms about food insecurity now that school is out.
I’ve been there and I feel for every one of you. It’s scary not having anything to give the littles, and over the summer they always seem to eat 5x as much food.
Here are some resources that you might find helpful:
- Call 211
They are your first call for help they are supposed to have updated lists and resources for what kinds of things are currently available to help.
- Food Pantries:
Is a great resource to find local food pantries and other resources that might be available to you.
- Apply for food stamps if you qualify:
Information about qualifying:
- Free breakfast/lunch program:
There are many locations around the counties https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids
This link seems to include several locations for Santa Rosa and only one for Escambia, this is not completely accurate there are other locations for Escambia a lot of the local community centers and libraries have also participated.
https://www.facebook.com/costellosbutcheranddeli provides lunch for kids without purchase requirements. Mon-Fri. This is a butcher shop that is local to Pensacola, FL.
Here are some grocery tips from my experienced hands:
Eggs have returned to $0.10 each. Eggs are incredibly versatile and teaching kids how to cook them in different ways can make eating them more enjoyable and increase their interest. Eggs are also a great source of protein.
When I’m on a tight food budget, I make sure to stock up on eggs, sliced cheese, bread, bouillon, rice, and noodles in my pantry. Right now, all of these items can be purchased at Walmart for under $20. This provides the option of making egg sandwiches or preparing eggs in one of the 143 different ways they can be served. Additionally, you can make grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese toast, or flavor the rice and noodles with various bouillon or seasonings. Ramen with eggs and frozen veggies like peas and carrots can also make for a satisfying meal with some protein and vegetables. While ramen used to be considered poor food when I was a kid, most kids today enjoy it.
Although these options may not be the healthiest, they provide a cost-effective way to keep your stomach from being empty. When you have a little extra money, you can buy meat to add to these dishes.
Some other pantry staples I would recommend are peanut butter, jelly, inexpensive lunch meats like pressed ham or turkey (found in the yellow and clear packs), Jello, and Kool-Aid for affordable snacks and treats. Dried beans are also a cheap and protein-rich option, although they require some advanced planning. Bananas and whatever other fruits or vegetables are in season are worth considering as well.
While it requires having money in advance, I buy most of my fresh produce, bread (including tortillas, buns, and loaves), seasonings (such as garlic, chicken and beef bouillon), sliced cheese, and meat (such as pork loins, hamburger meat, and chicken) from Sam’s Club. Although it may be challenging to do all the shopping at once, in the long run, it saves me a significant amount of money. I portion out the large packages of meat into meal-sized servings and freeze them. I also divide the sliced cheese into smaller stacks and store them in ziplock bags, and so on.
Prepared convenience food is rarely cost-effective, especially when needing to feed multiples. Lunchables, are a good example, meat, cheese, and crackers are much cheaper to provide the kids than the individual Lunchables.
I hope all this helps someone <3
Please comment below resources that you are aware of that aren’t included here. 🙂