Many charities do not require means testing for access to their food
pantries. Call the local churches to find them.
Your question is more about saving and scrimping than about finding
free stuff (okay, it isn't, but I'm gonna give you the benefit of the
doubt). You can embark on a strict fiscal belt-tightening in a number
Get rid of cable TV, cell phones, satellite radio and other
subscription services. Give serious consideration to ending magazine
subscriptions (they are much cheaper than buying mags at newsstands,
but libraries have them FREE!) and the daily newspaper (but keep
Sunday where the coupons are). Find and patronize he local Salvation
Army Thrift Store (or Goodwill, or church stores). Sell off your junk,
either on Craigslist or eBay (trust me, someone will buy whatever it
is you are throwing out!). Consolidate your grocery shopping trips to
once per week to stores chosen for their sales, make a list before you
shop and stick to it. Buy more vegetables (and some rice) and less
meat. Make sauces instead of buying them pre made (you're paying for
water). Walk to at least three destinations per week. Do more laundry
less often. Clean your AC filters. Inflate your car tires properly.
Change the car's oil by the manufacturers recommendation, not every 3K
When we were going through school my wife and I got by on about $600
per month. That supported us and our bills (not including school).
After rent ($200) and utilities (about $70-- we stopped running the AC
after the first month despite being in Florida, and didn't have a
phone) and cigarettes (we both put away a pack a day), there wasn't
much left over. We walked or took the bus everywhere until I bought a
$200 car, then we drove to every free attraction there was. There were
a surprising number of them! Grocery shopping was a long, slow process
where every purchase was weighed and calculated-- I can still
accurately total up my shopping cart to within a couple of dollars,
and used to be within one dollar-- and we ate a lot of pasta with
butter and cheese. Sometimes it was breakfast and lunch and dinner for
me, though she had a cafeteria pass (and smuggled food out; I still
remember how delicious a truly poached egg bacon and cheese on toasted
rye tasted one May morning).
After nine months of this I was able to work and she finished her
training and we were off into the wild world of being grownups. You
and your family may have to sacrifice for a time. It is worth it.
It was almost 20 years before I ate pasta with butter and cheese
again, and I still love egg bacon and cheese on toasted rye.