Written March 19

As I am breaking last night’s fast, I am looking out the big window at the brilliantly blue sky and the tender, apple-green, curled leaflets on the old sweetgum tree. March in the Carolinas is a glorious time of new life and new beginnings. Our life is changing, too. John has two new job prospects. It has been two full years since he has brought home a regular paycheck.

In the meantime, we are still without money. Regardless, we are eating well, but much of our food comes from the dumpster behind a local grocery store.

This morning, I am eating an apple with yeast rolls that were topped with cheese and toasted. I am washing it down with a mug of orange-laced, creamy chai. For a midday snack, I picked up a banana, a little cup of flan, and a bottle of homemade cucumber-lime-mint water. The apple and rolls came from the dumpster, as well as the cream and orange zest in my tea (the orange was washed very well). For my snack, the flan and the banana were in the trash, as well as the cucumbers and lime.

Last night’s supper was baked fish, carrots, and citrus water. Every bit of it came from the dumpster.

The dumpster is not locked up, but is easily accessible right behind the store. John mainly gets produce: apples, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, bananas, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, mushrooms, cucumbers, squash, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and garlic. He occasionally gets meat if it is very cold: sausage, livermush, bacon, fresh salmon, and frozen fish. He gets dairy items, too: milk, chocolate milk, cheese, cream cheese, cream, butter, coffee creamer, rice pudding, and flan. He has also gotten sweet rolls, danish, muffins, Italian bread, and frozen yeast rolls. He has brought home lemonade, pickles, hummus, potato chips, pretzels, and snack sticks that tasted like salty croutons. The best thing he brought home was a 24 pack of super premium bath tissue. There was only a small rip in the package.

He is careful about what he takes out of there and we smell everything once we get it home. We are careful to wash the produce very well. I usually rinse it with vinegar water. We have not gotten ill from the food. 

All of these foods came from the dumpster behind a single grocery store. It boggles the mind to think of all the food being thrown away across this nation. Produce especially is marked up so high because a good bit ends up in the trash. So many poverty stricken families could benefit from the stuff that is thrown away.

Certain stores and restaurants donate their food to soup kitchens and food pantries. France recently passed a law which requires supermarkets to donate unsold food to food pantries. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/french-law-bans-supermarkets-throwing-away-and-spoiling-unsold-food-giving-them-to-food-banks-and-a6855371.html