A Meal a Month

Celery, cabbage and corn for vegetable soup, caesar salad makings, bouillion to make future meals tasty and cinnamon for French Toast Friday.

People who listen to NPR know that they have an annual fund drive and ask people to become “sustainers”. This means giving a monthly gift that the organization can count on in order to pay expenses for the programming. I personally give to “Save the Children”, and it’s $20/month that I don’t miss out of my account. My husband is the NPR “Sustainer” in our house, and it makes sense, because we listen to it a lot.

I was thinking about how this relates to the center, and monthly contributions are wonderful because we know how much money is coming in each month. Right now we only have a handful of folks who do it, but at the beginning of every month it makes me smile. Our Sustainers rock! I was thinking of ways to make this more accessible to others- people often feel like they have to give a large sum of money all at once, or they wonder what a good amount would be that wouldn’t hurt them financially.

Now that the center is serving 2 meals a day, 5 days a week, we’re serving 60 or so meals a month! It’s absolutely amazing that we’ve been able to pull it off, but sometimes we need things to fill in the gaps, so I came up with an idea. It’s called “A Meal a Month”.

The idea is that for $20 a month, each individual contributor is essentially supporting a meal every month. One meal for 40-70 people is no small feat, and we can do a LOT with $20! Sometimes we run into things- not enough of any one type of pasta to do anything with, we’re out of cooking oil, we need butter to make grits taste like food, we have an abundance of hotdog buns but no hotdogs, we have 20 lbs. of hummus and need something to put it on. Problems that you’ve probably encountered in your own kitchen around dinner time.  Sometimes you just don’t have two things that match.

I’ve been a crazy, savvy shopper since I was a very young person, so I wanted to make a short example list of things we can do with $20!

Our receipt from Foodlion. This trip supported 3 specific meals this week, plus bouillion to make future meals tasty.


Dollar Store run for sausage and disinfectant.

• Morrell Kelbasa is sold for $1 each when I can catch it at our Poole Rd. Dollar Tree. People love it for breakfast or lunch, and 15 of those are PLENTY!

• 15 packs of chicken hotdogs can, in a pinch, serve all of our folks lunch. 20 packs make it so that we can have beanie weanies as a choice later in the week.

• The beans for beanie weanies are $4.50/#10 can at Sam’s Club, sometimes less. I could buy 3 plus enough hotdogs to make it tasty!


• Fish Sticks are sold at our (very local) Food Lion for 120/$7.99, it takes 2 to feed the center lunch! We’d have enough left over to buy ketchup too. A quick source of protein in a pinch.

• Saltines are $0.77/box at Food Lion, the perfect companion for that windfall of donated cheese, homemade chicken soup or a big batch of tuna. It takes 1-2 boxes to serve lunch, for only $1.54!


We play “Iron Chef” a lot at the center, but we’re proud to be able to serve home cooked meals daily, including fresh soups, chili, pastas and salads that are both healthy and hearty.  We’re proud to be able to offer both a meat and vegetarian option when we can, because choices provide dignity. If you would like to support a meal a month, please click here and, after clicking the donate button, choose the monthly payment option.

Blu’s homemade Snow Day Chili.

For delicious food pictures, like our facebook page. We update daily with center activities, happiness, and tons of homemade meals.

Author: MaRanda Kiser

Food is my love language- it's how I express love into the world.