My big project for Sexy Naptime was to completely gut and reorganize my pantry. What sparked this was Darling Husband informing me that canned tomatoes were now supposedly poisonous. Apparently, the acid in the tomatoes causes BPA lining the cans to leach into my famed spaghetti sauce. I did some unscientific research and found no conclusive results regarding Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. However, the thought of a spotless pantry was as intoxicating as swimming in champagne.
Since we are a mostly vegetarian household, I pulled scads of chicken stock, soups and other things along with the allegedly evil cans of tomatoes that easily filled two giant drum liners.
Enter ethical dilemma.
I hate wasting food, so the thought of these bounteous bags getting tossed at the dump made me cringe. On the other hand, is it OK to offload these unopened yet mostly expired (potentially BPA-ridden) goods at the closest food pantry?
This is the time of year when do-gooding is done. Schools, businesses and charities conduct food drives all over the city. Most people grab whatever cans have the most dust on them and never give it another thought. But consider the ones who end up with your neglected cans. If you didn’t eat your olives or (I’m not making this up) pork brains in milk gravy, chances are they won’t be fighting over them at the church either.
Food pantries are not a place to dump whatever is leftover or cheap. The majority of donated foods are high in sodium and lacking in nutritional value. There is a rising number of children who receive donated food items. Think about what these growing kids, who are already questioning where their next meal will come from, need to thrive. What do you feed your own kids? Whole grains and pasta, canned vegetables and fruits they’ll actually eat, low sodium soups, granola bars, crackers and peanut butter and throw in some cookies, they are kids after all.
When you shop for your own family, buy a few duplicate items to drop off with your kids so they can see first hand how some people live rather than ignoring your dinnertime speeches about all the hungry kids that would kill for that squash.