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Summer Shopping: What’s In Your Cart?

Welcome our guest blogger Anslee Boozer. A rising sophomore and communications major at Furman University, Anslee is interning with Loaves & Fishes this summer.  We are delighted that Anslee will be writing blogs for us throughout the summer. We are so lucky to have her!

The next time you push your cart through the aisles of your local grocery store think twice about what you purchase. Each summer Loaves & Fishes does a little shopping. Last week, we headed to the local supermarket to purchase a week’s worth of groceries for a family of three, our average family size, so   we can compare yearly prices to have a better understanding of what our clients face. Aisle by aisle I selected canned goods, peanut butter, cake mix, dairy products, bread, and meat in order to compare the same items to last year’s prices. It was a different grocery shopping experience. Not everyone has the luxury of buying whatever they are hungry for. Not every mom could treat her son to his favorite cereal or gummy bears.

After a somewhat stressful shopping experience we headed to the checkout line. It seemed as though the checkout process took hours as I waited for the much anticipated grand total.

“Thank you for shopping with us today. Your total is $104.07, go ahead and swipe your card,” said the cashier.  Over one-hundred dollars for one week for just three people; this is extremely expensive. Just last year the same amount of groceries cost $75.08. Food prices have increased while salaries are decreasing and unemployment numbers are rising. After shopping, I realized how important and necessary the service of Loaves & Fishes is to the Charlotte community.

The average income per month of our clients is $1,000 and the average family size is three people. Therefore, the cost of groceries the average family would spend per month is $416.28 leaving only $583.72 to pay for medical bills, housing costs, transportation, child-care, and other unplanned emergencies.

Think about the average family of three not being able to afford groceries for a week. Think about the mother who has to tell her child “no” when he asks for the new Oreos that everyone has in their lunchbox at school. Consider the everyday challenges that our community faces while trying to feed hungry stomachs. Many of them would not be here if it were not for the pantries that Loaves & Fishes has around the county. Our pantries are safe, stress free places that allow mothers, fathers, and other people from all walks of life to shop without any worry that they will not be able to afford what they place in their cart at the end of their grocery shopping.