Thursday, May 08, 2014

stamp out hunger

I love checking the mailbox and finding a handwritten note from a friend or the latest issue of Southern Living. When I checked the mail yesterday evening, it was mostly bills and one card that caught my eye right away:

In case you haven't received yours yet, I will give you the rundown...

On May 10th (this Saturday) the National Association of Letter Carriers is conducting its 22nd annual  Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Letter carriers around the country will be collecting food donations and delivering them to local food pantries and food banks. 

All you have to do is: 
1. Collect food and bag it.
2. Place your bag by your mailbox for it to be picked up and delivered. 

Providing food for those in need is very near and dear to my heart. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger and food insecurity, including adults, elderly, and children. Not only do the people utilizing these resources need nourishment, they often have or are at risk for chronic health issues that require specialized diets. In fact, for people with specific diagnoses, the heavily processed, sodium/added sugar laden foods often provided at food pantries are actually detrimental to their health. I also can't help but think about those who rely on food pantries who have food sensitivities or allergies. For children, proper nourishment is needed for growth and development. Rather than nutrient poor options, those who suffer from food insecurity need nutrient rich options. I encourage you to consider this as you select donations for your local food banks and pantries. 

Here are some healthier donation ideas:

Canned Vegetables--No Added Salt/Sugar
Canned Fruits-- In 100% Juice (not syrups)
No Added Sugar Dried Fruit
No Added Sugar Applesauce
Low Sodium Vegetable/Chicken/Beef Broth
Low Sodium Canned Chicken or Cold Water Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Sardines)
Unsalted Nuts and Seeds
Low Sodium Nut Butters
Brown and White Rice
Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pastas
Plain Steel Cut Oats
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Shelf Stable Powdered Milk or Almond Milk
Plain Bottled Water

These are just a few suggestions. Check with your local pantries to see if they accept fresh produce. I am aware of one pantry in our town that will accept fresh fruits and vegetables. The letter carriers are only picking up non-perishable items this Saturday, but for future donations it would be great if you could give produce as well. I ask that you consider the sodium and sugar content of the foods you provide. If the pantries you support provide lists of requested items, donate the lower sodium/no added sugar options. Also, consider the ingredient list of foods. If the list is a mile long, full of words you cannot identify or pronounce, I recommend you put it back on the shelf. By choosing lower sodium/sugar options with shorter ingredient lists, you are potentially contributing to better health for the individuals who receive them. Can I also encourage you to have this mindset when choices for your own pantry in your home?

Visit this link to use the interactive map and learn more about food insecurity and hunger in your area. 

Let's consider the health of those in need as we Stamp Out Hunger on May 10th and each time we donate to our local food banks and pantries.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much Hope! We got our reminder card in the mail yesterday and I greatly appreciate your suggestions!