We got our subsidized food box from the YWCA this week. We had a choice of large or small, and I always sign up for the small box. The boxes are packed and ready to go twice a month: the staples box can be picked up during the third week and the produce box is ready the fourth week of the month.
Because I receive the subsidy, I get the boxes for $5 and $6 each. They come at a great time for me, because my monthly paycheque is usually pretty well spent by this time. Have I mentioned already that I only get paid once a month? :)
Non-subsidized boxes are $11 (staples) and $12 (produce) for the small sizes.
I really like the produce box because it usually comes with one or two things that I wouldn't normally buy, like fresh herbs or beets. This week's staples box came with bagels and cream cheese, which I rarely purchase, so this was a treat, a bunch of carrots and a few potatoes, four apples and two tangerines, a can of beans, a can of tuna, a can of tomatoes, a package of spagetti and a huge bag of spinach. Sometimes there is cereal, apple sauce, canned soup ... you have to like surprises to appreciate these boxes.
The food boxes are available to everyone, not just single moms like me. In fact, the Y encourages everyone to purchase them at the non-subsidized price if they can, because that will bring more money to the program, which means more money to buy food, and more food available to everyone, subsidized or not. I'm thinking of promoting the boxes around my department, because I'm sure there are faculty here who can afford the non-subsidized boxes, and students who might not know about the subsidized ones. The same food items are in each box regardless of how much one has paid for it.
Also, I told them that I am willing to become a contact for my building. If I get two more people to sign up, the Y will deliver the boxes to us, and if I get five or more people, I will receive yet another dollar off my own boxes. I have also offered to pick up and deliver to anyone in my building who might be using the program but not have a car.
It's worth the effort to find out if your community has a program like this. If you can afford $20-30 a month to contribute to a food program, everyone involved wins.