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The glory of Food Co-ops

If you read my first few posts, I talked about some of the basic ideas I'll be incorporating as I try to reach this goal. One that may be unfamiliar to most is a food co-op organization called Serve New England.

This is how they describe what they offer:
"Serve New England is a program designed to promote volunteer service by offering deep discounts on the highest quality grocery, meat, and vegetable items to community-minded individuals willing to volunteer 2 hours of their time each month to a worthy cause. "

Essentially, they work with local food distributors to get big discounts on grocery items, and put together a basic package (it usually includes about 4 different meat items, a starch, and a bunch of fruits and veggies) that will be sold for $22. It's usually at or more than 50% off what you'd pay for the same package at the grocery store. They have specialty add-on packages too, usually seasonal meats (for example, this month one of the add-ons was chicken kebabs, another was breaded shrimp) or holiday dinner baskets around Christmas and Thanksgiving.

This is NOT a food pantry, or a program with income guidelines - anyone can participate, all they ask is that you do 2 hours of volunteer work in your community in the month you buy a Serve package. You pay for the package(s) you want during the first week of the month, and pick everything up about 2 weeks later on a Saturday morning. The Serve chapter I go to will actually let you help pack boxes early on the Saturday of distribution as your volunteer hours, so I'm sure other chapters do the same. But if you have other places you can or do volunteer (schools, soup kitchens, thrift stores, church organizations, etc) they just have a voucher for your chosen organization to sign off that you did the 2 hours.

I have found the food quality to be pretty good, and I have gotten 6-7 meals out of the package depending on what's included that month. Find a local chapter here!

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