Need food box ideas

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by AndreaDM, Dec 6, 2017 at 10:03 AM.

  1. AndreaDM

    AndreaDM <font color=red>Yeah...we mainly colored that day<

    Nov 7, 2008
    A friend of mine recently got custody of her 2 grandchilden, not legally yet, but they are living with her and she is totally supporting them. She is retired and gets SS and a small pension but cannot get any SNAP assistance for them at this point. I know things are very tight for her from what she's said, they are 2 boys age 3 & 5. Anyway, I'm going to give her a Walmart gift card for Christmas but also a box of food, mostly geared toward the kids. I'm trying to not make this look like "charity" so if I say it's for the kids I'm sure that won't bother her as much. What would be some good things to buy in addition to the standard mac&cheese and peanut butter? I may do one bag of fridge/freezer items but most will be non-perishable.
    tzeitel likes this.
  2. DisneyHardin

    DisneyHardin DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2010
    Cereal, snack things like fruit snacks, applesauce cups, granola bars, string cheese.
    PollyannaMom and azdisneylover like this.
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  4. Mizzoufan

    Mizzoufan DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2015
    I'm really confused it geared toward the kids. So do you want kids food? or are you telling it's for the kids?

    either way
    hamburger meat

    It's a very nice gesture of you to help your friend. Tell her to try to get on WIC as well
    azdisneylover likes this.
  5. AndreaDM

    AndreaDM <font color=red>Yeah...we mainly colored that day<

    Nov 7, 2008
    "I'm really confused it geared toward the kids. So do you want kids food? or are you telling it's for the kids?"

    Sorry for the confusion, but both. Of course the food is for anyone, but if I gear it more towards the kids I don't think she will take it as charity from me. I'm trying to be sensitive. She doesn't drive either, but once a week her sister takes her food shopping.

    Thanks for the suggestions, it's been a while since I had little ones at home and my mind just blanked thinking about what to stock up on.
  6. adamak

    adamak DIS Veteran

    Aug 7, 2000
    Rice and dried beans. Steel cut oatmeal. Tomato sauce. Spices. Dried fruits. Pasta. Canned fruits. Soup. Milk powder. Towels. Diapers. Anything that can last and suitable for both adults and kids.
    azdisneylover likes this.
  7. TwoMisfits

    TwoMisfits DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2002
    For shelf-stable items for kids:
    Peanut Butter
    All Fruit Preserves (2-3 types)
    Maybe a 2nd type of nut butter - my kids love Nutella
    Crackers (so if bread runs out, PB crackers are an option)
    Tomato Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup
    Mac and Cheese Cups, Spaghettios
    Cereals (single serve might be great)
    Oatmeals (single serve)
    Dried Fruits - Cranberries, Raisins, Dried Apples, Dried Apricots
    Rice Krispie Treats
    Microwave Popcorn
    Fruit and Veg Juice Fruit Snacks
    Nutri-grain bars (or other granola bars)
    Shelf-stable Yogurt Pouches
    Fruit Sauce Pouches (Apple, Multi-fruit)
    Diced Fruit Cups
    Nuts pouches (honey roasted or simple salted peanuts)
    Box of Flavor-Ice (great dessert item)
    Hot Cocoa Mixes (the ones with the extra calcium that just use water) (another great dessert/cold winter item)
    All-Fruit Juice Boxes
    Milk Boxes
    Bottles of Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Grape Juice, Pineapple Juice

    To add dinner items
    Pastas - Spaghetti, Ziti, Tortellini (the filled stuff)
    Pasta Sauces - Lots of Tomato...then maybe an Alfredo and a Pesto
    Parmesan Cheese (big jar)
    Jars of Roasted Red Peppers
    Diced Tomato Jars
    Jar of Minced Garlic
    Olive Oil/Canola Oil
    Nice Salt/Pepper
    Boxes of Instant Rice, Cous Cous, Quinoa
    Roll of Polenta
    Cans or Pouches of Tuna, Salmon, Chicken Salad
    Chicken Broth quarts
    Shelf-stable root vegs - potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, squashes
    Evaporated Milk (always good in a pinch if you run out of milk)
    Jars of Chili/Beef Stews
    Spices - Italian Seasoning (or Basil), Thyme, Rosemary
    Fruit-based Muffin Mixes
    Pizza Crust Mixes
    Biscuit Mixes
    Pancake Mix
    Veg Dressing (Ranch or Blue Cheese)
    Ketchup (boy does my son eat ketchup!)

    And for the freezer/fridge
    Mozzarella Sticks and Shreds
    Cheese Slices
    Stouffer's Family Meals (or another option)
    Chicken Tenders - either prepared or fresh
    All-beef Meatballs
    Frozen Veg - Corn, Peas, Spinach
    Frozen Fruits (Berry Blend, Peaches)
    Baby Carrots
    Bacon and Sausage
    Frozen Pizzas
    Frozen Ravioli

    So, those are my ideas:)...what I might do is make a kid box and sneak in a few of the shelf-stable dinner items from my list and then make a giant shelf-stable fruit display for the mom (buying the fruits a day before)...

    I'd put a pineapple in the center, and decorate with clementines, apples, pears, lemons, limes, green bananas, oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, pomegranates, etc and make it seem "gift-like" and not "charity-like"...I'd probably buy a bowl or plate and cellophane to pull this off (I wouldn't buy grocery fruit baskets b/c that fruit will be 5-10 days old, and you will want the freshest you can get)...
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 1:54 PM
  8. dtkids

    dtkids Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2017
    Great suggestions here. I have to add this...we are a foster family, and for our very first placement, I was really surprised how overwhelming dishes became. I don't know why a couple more cups, utensils or plates felt so different, but it did.

    A friend sent me a bulk order of paper plates, plastic forks, plastic spoons and plastic cups.

    I literally cried when I received those.

    For whatever reason, disposable plates forks, etc at even just one or two meals a week was a HUGE stress and time saver.

    When juggling the stress of a new family dynamic, kids' trauma from removal, and all the other things that comes with stepping up for kids in this way, anything that you can do to help the adults save time, stress and/or money goes such a long way. Thank you.
  9. AndreaDM

    AndreaDM <font color=red>Yeah...we mainly colored that day<

    Nov 7, 2008
    That is a great idea and something I'd never have thought of! I will definitely add some paper plates to the list. And thanks to everyone else for all the food ideas. It sounds so simple but I don't shop for kids. I also want to buy it all in one trip, I shop at Giant Eagle and have 20% foodperks right now so I want to take advantage of that!
    halfpintpeggy likes this.
  10. LJSquishy

    LJSquishy DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2011
    I would skip all of the processed junk and stick with a box of fresh produce and meat.
  11. Grumpy's Gal

    Grumpy's Gal DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2004
    Don't forget to add Paper towels and dishwashing soap
  12. TwoMisfits

    TwoMisfits DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2002
    If you want to add things like paper plates and paper towels...might I suggest a picnic basket presentation? The kids will love it, especially if it means they can have an indoor picnic and you can put a lot of your shelf-stable food products in here, too (b/c, by definition, picnics have to be shelf-stable:)...I wouldn't buy an actual picnic basket, but more a "Little Red Riding Hood" open basket which is both cheaper and can fit more...

    Edit to Add: Another option to sneak fresh fruit and nuts in without "charity" - present the kids old-fashioned stockings stuffed with clementines, apples, pears, boxes of raisins and craisins, bags of different nuts, a bar or two of chocolate, and a candy cane...tell them the story about how kids used to race downstairs on Christmas morning to see if they could get to the bottom of the stocking and pull the big orange out of the toe...
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 7:15 PM
  13. halfpintpeggy

    halfpintpeggy DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2015
    How wonderful that you are doing this for your friend! I would add since it is holiday time, grab some of those complete cookie/baking mixes for your food box.
  14. momto3pirates

    momto3pirates DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2009
    How about gift cards to a local grocery store that delivers? Amazon also has a grocery delivery service. Might be good since she doesn’t drive.
  15. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

    Jul 23, 2008
    You have been given a lot of great suggestions. I would add Vienna Sausage, homemade slice and bake cookie dough (to put into freezer), kid's medicine (ibuprofen and actiphenemine) band aids, Mickey Mouse plates, cups, silverware for the kids, Nesquik, an apple slicer, raisins.
    PollyannaMom likes this.
  16. DisneyHardin

    DisneyHardin DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2010
    I disagree. If this box is supposed to be a gift for the kids, then it needs to have kid stuff in it. A 3 and 5 year old are not going to be too excited about being presented with a box of broccoli and chicken.
  17. NinaBella

    NinaBella DIS Veteran

    Oct 14, 2013
    It's an odd gift to "give to kids" a box of food. Unless it is just "treats" it will look like a charity box.

    I think clothes or shoes for the kids would be more appropriate. Kids outgrow things quickly.

    I remember back in the day when grandparents would give the kids the McDonald Dollars. Do they still do that? If there is a McDonalds with a Playplace nearby that Grandma can take them to to use the McDonalds dollars and Grandma get a little breather while the kids play.

    ETA: Looks like McDonald's does not do the old style gift certificate "dollars" but just the plastic gift cards now.
  18. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

    Dec 15, 2003
    Well, while this is not a Food Bank situation exactly, having volunteered there they say canned fruit is often the most welcome food item.
    Canned fruit is more expensive than many more commonly given non-perishable food items, and kids love fruit.
  19. LovesTimone

    LovesTimone DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2009
    Paper products - paper towels, toilet tissue, Kleenex, paper plates, napkins, plastic container, zip locks baggies

    Basic condiments - PB and Jelly - ketchup, mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, cooking oil or olive oil, salt, pepper

    Canned goods - veggies, spaghetto's, ravioli, soup - for her and the kids. Fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, pears, peaches

    Boxed items - stuffing, scallop potatoes, rice, instant mashed potatoes, pasta

    Jars of red sauce, boxes of pasta, yellow rice bag, package of dried beans, boxes of chicken, beef and vegetable stock.

    Fresh fruit and veggies - a bag of apples, or oranges, baby carrots, celery, bag of potatoes, a couple of onions.

    Cereal, breakfast bar, pop tarts, raisin

    Cookie, brownie, cake mixes and frosting, and sprinkles maybe throw in some Christmas cookie cutters.

    Cookies, gummies, and some treats Little Debbie's, oatmeal pies, apple turn over.

    Dish detergent, or dish washer tabs,

    Shampoo and soap for the kiddos, also socks, PJ's

    Also you could make a socking for each of them, or find out a toy that the kids really want and wrap that up to go under the tree.

    Living on a fixed income, she should be able to get WIC, and more than likely some food stamps, with the kid being so young... also info on preschool and after school care if needed.
  20. AndreaDM

    AndreaDM <font color=red>Yeah...we mainly colored that day<

    Nov 7, 2008
    Thanks everyone, lots of great ideas! I'm heading out this weekend to stock up! She only has a regular sized fridge with the freezer above it, so I can't get too many frozen things. To clarify, this is a box for her to help out with feeding the kids, not a box for the kids although I definitely will put some "fun" stuff in it as well. Unfortunately we live where there is no grocery delivery, but I believe her sister takes her shopping once a week. That's why I got a Walmart card, she can get food or stuff directly for the kids. One thing I know I won't get is pasta sauce, she's very old school Italian and would probably be very offended by a jar of Ragu lol!
  21. TwoMisfits

    TwoMisfits DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2002
    I know I didn't emphasize this above, but I would also remember the beverages for the kids b/c 1. most folks always think of eating vs drinking, 2. beverages tend to be 30% of your grocery bill expenses, 3. beverages tend to be the heaviest part of your bought items, and 4. it's an easy way to get vitamins, minerals, and calcium snuck in for kids turning their noses up at items, especially when combined into smoothies with fresh fruit and's why I put a bunch at the bottom of my list. With it being winter, cocoa is a no brainer, but 100% juices and all milks (in both big bottle, can, and box form) also have their place:)...
    LovesTimone and AndreaDM like this.

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