Okay. Just so you know, neither of those ladies is me. :) I stole this picture off the Deseret News website.
So. For those of you who don't know, the Bishop's Storehouse is a little store that you can go to during times of financial struggle. A few months ago, our bishop asked Ben how things were going, and Ben was like, "Eh...." The bishop asked what was up, and Ben said that we were struggling to make ends meet. So our bishop said we could go to the bishop's storehouse until we get our feet under us a little more. It's been so wonderful. It saves us about $75 per week on groceries. They don't have everything there, but they have a wide variety of meat, baked goods, dairy, and fresh produce, plus a lot of canned goods.
It's the church members' fast offerings that pay for the food that the storehouse is stocked with. And I'm so grateful for it. We would be so screwed without this help right now.
I fill in a little form with our Relief Society president, and then I take it in with me. I usually have to take my naughty kids with me, but the kids try to be good, because they have two bowls of candy that the kids can get candy from when we leave - but only if they're good. The storehouse is only open two days a week, for about 6 hours each day. A bunch of elderly missionary couples work there, and they are so dang cute. There are a few men that do a lot of work, and all the women are busy working, but most of the men sit on the couches at the entrance of the store and just shoot the breeze. It reminds me of a barbershop or something. And the old men flirt with me. I told my friend Patty about that, and she said, "At what age does it become okay to flirt with other women??" True dat!! The men also tease Dylan and Sadie, confusing and embarrassing them. It's pretty funny.
This one guy always chastizes me: "This is not enough food for five people. You didn't order enough food." But I assure you, I get plenty. Oodles and gobs. I have two whole turkeys in my freezer right now, and I'm supposed to go to the storehouse tomorrow. So am I going to get any more turkey tomorrow? Nope. Just what I need, and that's all.
The first time I went, I worried that I was dressed too nicely. I worried that, because my jeans weren't frayed, or my shirt wasn't stained (and it was really a lucky day, because most of my clothes are stained and frayed), I didn't look "poor enough" to deserve to be there. I worried that all the workers there were judging me, like, "She doesn't look like she needs help. She's just using the church..." I know they probably weren't thinking these things, but I just felt really self-conscious. And I must admit, sometimes I peek out of the corners of my eyes at other people in the store. One couple looked really well-off, and they drove away in a very expensive-looking truck, which made me wonder, but I quickly gave myself a mental pinch. You never know what someone is going through. Maybe the guy had just lost his job, or something.
There are all of these unspoken rules that I've learned in the last few months. For example, they have celery at the store, but it's not on the list. You need to check the box for "miscellaneous vegetables" if you want celery. It's always celery, nothing more. If you want hot dog buns or hamburger buns, you have to write them in under the bread area of the list. There are no boxes for those on the list, but again, they're always at the store. You put pounds next to the fresh fruit and veggies that you want, and I learned that potatoes only come in five or ten pounds, and that a thing of celery is three pounds. I've had to learn to tolerate cooking a whole chicken, then having to pick all the meat off the bones, instead of those nice, easy chicken breasts that you can buy at the store. I've learned that bishop's storehouse yeast doesn't really rise. They were out of yeast right before Thanksgiving, and the dude was apologizing, and I was like, "Believe me, it's okay!! I'm not mad at ALL!!" (I was glad. Because then I could buy normal yeast that actually rises!) I've learned that I really hate bishop's storehouse bread. I've learned that their beef roasts are extremely tender and yummy. I've learned that their shampoo smells divine, and that their razors make me cut my legs a lot more often. It really is a whole new way of life, but again, I'm soooo grateful that we can feed our family.