Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

free food giveaways: Food Not Bombs Salt Lake City

Sometime last month when I was volunteering with Green Urban Lunch Box, one of the volunteers told me about the food giveaway at a park near downtown SLC by Food Not Bombs.  I went that day (a Saturday) and have been going every weekend since (except for the weekend I was away).

The volunteers for the organization rescue perfectly good food that has gone past its expiry date from going into the dumpster. So much food is wasted in the United States, and this is a way of keeping it out of the landfill. They collect this food, and then three times a week they set up tables to just give away, no questions asked. Below are photos of some of the things I have brought home - all for free. 







The above photo was from this morning. Dan has the weekend off for Thanksgiving, so he came with me for the first time. There was a lot of food from the post-Thanksgiving feast and only half of the usual people showed up, so there was a lot to be given away. Above we have salad mix, bananas, muffins, cookies, milk, gyro meat, apples, grapefruit, yogurt, snacks, onion dips, stuffing mixes, tortilla, garlic bread, eggplant, sauerkraut, peppers, a sandwich and potato salad.

Dan and I both hate to see food going to waste, and if we can not spend money by helping divert perfectly good food from going to the landfill, so much the better. Most of this food is usually organic, though not always. Between the food we grew and preserved, the $50 gift card I won from Bob's Red Mill thanks to the Splendid Table, and going to these weekly giveaways, our food costs have gone way down. Now it's just a matter of dealing with all this food. Dan has been cooking up a storm all day, and I am juicing all the vegetables I can. At this rate though, we won't have to buy groceries for a while, other than for staples like salt and rice.

How it works: everyone arrives at 11:00am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The volunteers have the tables with boxes of food all lined up at Richmond Park 450 E 600 S. A coin is flipped, to decide whether the inside or the outside of the line gets to go first - keep it egalitarian. The line is divided in two and we go in circles around the string of tables, taking only one item per box each time we pass by. People who abuse this and take more than one item (if they know the rules and ignore them) are either told to go the back of the line or come next time. Mostly it's older people (immigrants who don't speak English well) and young people that come. Most people have all they need by the time they make a full circle around the table, but there is always more bread, apples, or potatoes leftover. There is a donation bucket for gas for the volunteers. When the weather turns too cold/bad, the giveaway will happen at the Boing house on 500 east, just around the corner from the park.

It's such an excellent service. You never know what you'll get. One week it was largely gluten-free. Another week there was a lot of dairy. Another time it was mostly produce. There is always a lot of bread though, we never need to buy or bake bread again.

Today, because there was a huge abundance of food and not many people, one of the volunteers thanked me for coming and taking food. Where else does that happen? I love this city. 

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