The Salt Mine Food Boxes

Emergency food assistance is the largest service The Salt Mine provides to the community.  A faltering economy impacts the entire nation, but the hardest hit are minimum-wage earning families or people on fixed incomes. Partnering with The Salt Mine, the Lincoln community provides about three hundred thousand meals a month to those needing a helping hand.

The Salt Mine Food Closet offers several types of food assistance. We administer the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) distribution for Lincoln, and through partnerships with local agencies and businesses, we hold open food giveaways (meaning there is no income-requirement) on Saturdays and Thursdays. You can find out more about the Thursday and Saturday food giveaways here.

Our primary form of food assistance is an emergency food box for low-income families. Clients can receive one food box a month; exceptions are granted on a case by case basis. Based upon a family size of four, these food boxes contain:

And when you stuff all these things in a banana box...
And when you stuff all these things in a banana box…
  • One box of cereal or oatmeal
  • One pound of pasta
  • One jar of pasta sauce (if available)
  • Three side-dish meals (ex. 2 Pasta Roni & 1 Mac and Cheese)
  • One Jar of peanut butter (if available)
  • Five cans of vegetables
  • Three cans of fruit
  • Four large cans of meat (ex: stew, chili, or pork) and two small cans of meat (ex: tuna)
  • One can of tomatoes, any variety (sauce, stewed, diced, etc.)
  • One large, and two small (10 oz.) cans of soup
  • Two cans of beans (baked, refried, pinto, etc.)
  • One box of crackers
  • One box of cookies
  • One package of spices (if available)
  • Four packages of Top Ramen (if available)
  • One box of baked goods (if available, ex: cake mix, corn bread mix)
  • One package of Jello (if available)
  • One container of juice (if available)
  • Two condiments (if available)
  • One handful of individually wrapped snacks (if available)
  • Rice, dried beans, and powdered milk are optional; every client offered the ability to add these items.

Our boxes scale down to one individual, up to a family of six. Using the listed ingredients, family of four can prepare nutritionally balanced meals for a week. Our boxes comply with nutritional guidelines published by the USDA to insure that the hungry in our community are not only taken care of, but taken care of well.

Food boxes are supplemented by donations from a variety of local business.  Bread, dairy, and desserts are donated daily by the Lincoln Raleys. Starbucks contributes pastries daily. Winco provides bread on Wednesdays. Safeway provides bread, dairy, and desserts every Wednesday and Saturday.

The Salt Mine Food Closet could not function without all of you. Your donations of food help stock the pantries of  over two thousand families every month. We currently need pasta, Top Ramen, and tuna. Donations of non-perishable food are received at The Salt Mine Food Closet located on 590 Lincoln Blvd Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M.

Yet, the Food Closet does not live on bread alone. Various pipers must be paid, and they prefer cold, hard, cash. Know that 97% of your monetary donation to The Salt Mine goes toward operation and acquisition costs associated with the food closet. Donating funds is easy; head on over to You will receive a receipt via email for the taxman.

Your support for The Salt Mine helps eliminate hunger in Lincoln. Thanks for partnering with us, and allowing us to serve our community.

Why The Salt Seller is “Moving on Up” Into The Salt Mine Thrift Shop

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The Salt Mine Thrift Shop at 105 Floccini Circle (Click for Directions)
Now, you may have noticed that our F Street thrift store is moving. We are consolidating our two thrift shops into our Flocchinni Circle location. Consolidation will help The Salt Mine fulfill our mission of providing for those with needs in Lincoln by reducing building costs. Consolidation also brings all of our retail operations into one location, reducing fuel expenses incurred from stocking two locations. Those who support us by purchasing from The Salt Mine Thrift Store can now donate items they are finished with and purchase new items in a single trip!

Yet this move is as necessary as it is convenient. Meeting our community’s need for food required cutting expenses. Requests for food from The Salt Mine have increased dramatically over the past several years. Our clients extend far beyond the homeless. Many people have homes, but are either unemployed or underemployed. When someone must choose between paying rent or buying food, they pay rent and go without enough food. Nationwide, people are tightening their belts and cutting costs. Tight budgets mean people hold onto the items they have already instead of purchasing items from major retailers—or thrift stores. Thus, it is the best decision moving forward to consolidate our stores.

The Thrift Shop on F Street. (Click here for directions)

Moving is hard, and we at The Salt Mine could use some help. If you have thought about purchasing items for your home, now is the time! Our F Street location is having a huge sale to reduce inventory. Furniture is sixty percent off the tagged price. Everything else is marked down eighty percent from the tagged price! The Salt Mine Thrift Shop is making room for the move by marking everything down 50%! This sale has been extended for the third and final time. It will run through this Saturday, September 19th. Check out some of the available furniture pieces (as of about noon today) here.

Help us out! if you come and purchase something, we will not need to move it to the Floccini location! If your house lacks nothing, you can still help. The move increased our fuel expenses, any monetary assistance towards relieving that burden is greatly appreciated. You can give online by heading over to

Know that we value your patience with us as we transition into one retail location, and that we value the past, and we hope continued, support from the rest of the Lincoln community.

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Thursday and Saturday Food Distribution


Waiting in line for food
People waiting to choose from the donated food on a Saturday giveaway
Thursdays and Saturdays are exciting at The Salt Mine!! Our mission is to feed the hungry throughout the week by distributing food through the Food Closet, but Thursday and Saturday’s food giveaways are special. They are special in this sense—that volunteer teams from many local organizations partner with us to provide food for the sixty to one hundred families in need.

A look at the various kinds of food handed out Thursdays and Saturdays

Thursday and Saturday food giveaways are very diverse. While quantities and assortment do vary, most giveaways contain breads, canned goods, cereals, dairy, desserts, drinks, eggs, fruit, vegetables and various meats. These items come from several sources. On Thursdays, the Placer County Food Bank truck delivers food supplied through grants, local farmers, and local giving. Saturday’s food truck is manned by volunteers from Bayside Church who pick up food from local Walmarts. On Saturdays, Safeway donates the bulk of the bread, some dairy, and desserts. Raleys is one of our largest donors, supplying both days with perishable and non perishable goods. Thus, not only are the hungry provided with ingredients for balanced meals, but businesses who are usually competitors come together to meet this need in our community.

As important as our donors are, the food can go nowhere without our volunteers. Every facet of our Saturday giveaway is run by volunteer manpower. The gentleman driving the Food truck and receiving donations from Walmart is a volunteer. The local ladies and gentlemen who pick up donated bread, dairy, and desserts from Raleys volunteer. Men and women who set up tables, food, hand out numbers, direct pedestrian traffic, assist with carry-outs, and clean up—are all volunteers.

Successfully distributing food Thursdays and Saturdays requires a large team. We are indebted to the local clubs, churches, corporate service groups—even families—that volunteer from week to week because they want to serve their community. I had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Avery, the Financial Secretary for Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church’s Council of the Knights of Columbus, to discover his groups’ perspective on, and motivation for, serving at The Salt Mine.

The Knights of Columbus’ original mission was helping widows and orphans in their communities. However, the group broadened their service goals to include all the needy in their parishes and communities. Lincoln’s council is comprised of over two hundred men who volunteer our community in various capacities.

The Bread Basket. Raley's and Safeway donated these items
The Bread Basket. Raley’s and Safeway donated these items

I asked Mr. Avery, why, out of all the ways he could serve Lincoln, he and his fellow knights choose to repeatedly volunteer at The Salt Mine Saturday food distribution.

“Because,” he answered, “it’s person to person. Frequently, many community service institutions help by issuing checks, issuing money. This is an opportunity for us to help one on one. It is a chance to look the person in the eye who you are helping and to give them encouragement and support. I really like that.”

Mr. Avery and his fellow knights have volunteered at the Saturday giveaway for almost six months. I was curious about any preconceptions he carried coming into serving and how those preconceptions changed over the past six months.

“Actually, I thought that The Salt Mine served mostly homeless people,” he told me. “As it turns out, I have found out that really is not the case—the homeless are a small portion of the members that The Salt Mine serve. Most of the people they are helping are people that do have homes, but are down on their luck. They may have illness in their family, they may be unemployed, or they may be a single parent running a household. These are people who are in need; sometimes they have a certain amount of money—it’s just not enough money. That was a surprise; the homeless are just a small part of those in need—and not as large of a percent as you would expect.”

Finally, I asked Mr. Avery for any last observations or remarks. “I think people are becoming more aware of one on one help instead of just writing a check. We get bombarded with requests to write checks, but every now and then, we have an opportunity to actually get up, go out, and meet the recipients face to face. It’s much, much, more rewarding than writing a check and having it go off to some organization back East, and you do not know where it is helping.”


If you desire to take up this call to serve the community face to face, get in touch with us. Use the volunteer button to contact our volunteer coordinator, or simply drop by The Salt Mine and ask for Stephen Hay. If you want to leave feedback on this article feel free to leave comments below or stop by The Salt Mine. Face to face feedback is as rewarding as administering face to face assistance.

Placer Food Bank picked up the majority of these items from Walmart.
Placer Food Bank picked up the majority of these items from Walmart.

Candace Noble Shares Her Story of Donating to The Salt Mine

For three generations, The Salt Mine has worked to provide food and help to those in need in Lincoln. The donations from individuals in the community allows the Salt Mine to keep its doors open.  Whether it is monetary donations, items donated to the thrift store, or the outstanding volunteers who work at the Food Closet, the community members of Lincoln have consistently stepped up to the plate.

Candace Noble is one example of someone who has been an outstanding contributor to The Salt Mine throughout the past few years. We asked Candace to talk to us about her experience with The Salt Mine and why she chooses to donate.


1. How did you first hear about the Salt Mine?

I moved here three years ago, and saw the Salt Mine on the corner and wondered what it was. One day I visited Sierra Hill Framing, and Tom Jones, the owner, told me about what the organization did for the community. I had things to donate, and called to have them picked up. Pastor Eric came with his truck and personally picked up my items. Talking to Eric, I was able to learn more about what they did and how they gave in so many ways.


2. What made you decide to contribute to the Salt Mine?
They’re local, they take care of the town of Lincoln, where I live. I would rather give local and give to my community and the people you see and interact with and that’s what’s important. Take care of where you live first.


3. How does it make you feel to know that your giving makes a difference in your local community?
Wonderful. Its a way of life. We’ve always done it. You never know with circumstances what will happen, you could be the person walking down the street some day. Everyone has to take care of each other.


4. If you could give other Lincoln residents one or two reasons why they should consider being a part of the Salt Mine’s efforts, what would you say?
I would say that they are a very organized group, and they really do have a heart for the people. I think Lincoln residents should keep it local first. It seems like you never know when it could be your neighbor or could be you [in need]. I really am impressed with the Salt Mine. They have the thrift store and the warehouse, they are taking care of a lot of people, and employing people from the community.


5. What do you see as the difference between The Salt Mine and other charities?
I’ve been to all the locations, everyone is very friendly and happy. They have hope and are always upbeat. Eric is very down to earth, he himself is in the truck and picking stuff up. The people at the top are doing the work and leading by example of what it is to serve people in the community. Nobody that works there is above taking care of the next person. They all have heart.


We’re very grateful for Candace taking the time to share her story and for her kind words.