What is Fresh Food Friday?
Fresh Food Friday is pantry service we provide the first Friday of every month. It is currently a two hour pantry held from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Coming soon in the fall, it’ll be a one hour pantry every first Friday. At FFF’s we only provide fresh produce from our garden or from Linn Benton Food Share, these differ from the Shopping Style Pantries where we walk clients through the pantry to get dry goods.
Why do we have a pantry dedicated to produce?
Ask yourself, how often you eat something that has come directly from a tree, the ground or a plant? Did you eat a fruit or vegetable today? Yesterday? Students don’t have easy access to affordable produce. That’s why we provide produce at our shopping style pantries as well as our Fresh Food Friday’s. The last year we learned a lot at the HSRC and our goal is for everyone who walks away from our Fresh Food Friday to have a few days worth of fresh produce.
Students and fresh produce? Is it an actual need?
To put it simply, yes! We also connect students to a resource here in Oregon called SNAP that can get them a monthly allowance to buy expensive items like produce.
Below are some real examples of students expressing interest in produce.
“A few weeks ago, we helped a student sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps), connecting her to $192 in monthly grocery money. She was emotional as she shared that she’d been getting all her food from the dollar store and was so excited to be able to afford some fresh produce and buys salads again.” – Miguel Arellano Sanchez, Basic Needs Navigator at HSRC
“Having SNAP has been so great. I am less stressed about buying food. My month started again last week. I invited my friends over for dinner this Sunday and I even bought asparagus & salad!” – Student
As students, many of us are constantly delegating our money to meet our basic needs. Between bills, textbooks, groceries, tuition, etc., there isn’t always any money in the budget for new clothing or decorating your space. Sometimes you have a little extra money and you’d like to get yourself something new. This is an opportunity to practice your smart shopping and get the most out of your money.
Here are three things I do to save money when I’m shopping for clothing, food, or household goods:
- Check clearance sections
- Items can be on clearance for a million different reasons. When seasons change, so do the types of clothing, food, and household items at stores. Oregon is rainy nine months of the year, so take advantage of the clearance fall clothing and jackets that could be marked down as much as 80% in some places. These items could be useful for months to come in Oregon weather. I have also scored some of my favorite foods on clearance for a fraction of the price because they were approaching their sell-by date. Remember that many foods that have passed their date are still safe to consume!
The best clearance sections I have found in the Corvallis area are: TJ Maxx, Ross, Tuesday Morning, Safeway (specifically the Philomath Blvd location), and Fred Meyer.
- Shop Second Hand
- Thrift stores are a great place to check, and second hand items are often heavily discounted. Goodwill has discounts on a different colors of tags each week! However, it is important to be mindful of what the rough retail price of items before you can be sure you got a good deal. Specialty thrift stores, such as ones that sell primarily vintage clothing, aren’t always as affordable as those that sell everything.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are both great resources for finding deals and also an opportunity to put your bargaining skills to work. In my experience, most sellers are willing to accept the best offers on their items. These are also great places to check for free items- especially during move out season (particularly the end of Winter and Spring terms) when folks are leaving Corvallis and get rid of things they no longer need.
- Compare prices
- A mistake I made when I first began shopping on my own was buying the first item I saw on sale without checking the quality and quantity of the products to make sure I was actually getting a good deal.
- When shopping for food, check the price per unit to ensure you’re shopping smart. For example: A box of 10 pudding cups for $2 may seem like a good deal, but you checked the prices and they’re 6 for $1 individually. By checking the price per unit, you’ve not only saved money but ended up getting 12 pudding cups for $2! That’s two for free and you saved some pocket change.
- If you’re looking for something simple, like a black T-Shirt, check a thrift store for something that could work before heading to a department store. You may find what you need and save some money.
I hope these tips serve you well and allow you to save a few bucks the next time you’re out shopping!