Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 0 minute ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
Dean Cottrill and Patty Kallmyer: Make healthiness an issue in food drives
September 20, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

Think before you donate. Let us explain. Food insecurity is rampant in this country, with one in seven Americans having to rely on food pantries and soup kitchens to survive. To feed this massive population, nearly 46 million people, these organisations rely almost entirely on donations.

That’s where you and I come into the picture. Typically, we offload into food drives the dusty cans from the back of our kitchen cabinets. We use food drives as a kind of dumping ground for the items we won’t eat, rather than truly considering how to nourish our fellow citizens.

Too often, the food we donate is full of fat, salt, and sugar. Of course, people in need will take what they can get from the agencies that receive and distribute food drive donations. But people who are food insecure are already prone to having poor diets, since grocery stores are not readily accessible in many low-income communities and even when they are, fresh produce is beyond their means.

For this reason, our nation’s poor tend to consume readily available convenience store and fast food fare, placing them at risk for obesity, weakened brain function, as well as debilitating and costly diseases.

A recent study from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy found that half of US deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes could be eliminated by meeting healthier nutritional guidelines. It’s increasingly clear that food is a kind of medicine, which we can help extend to those in need with a bit more thoughtfulness.

As the holiday season nears, schools, community organisations and faith groups begin their plans for annual food drives. In our experience, serving as directors on the board of Heaven on Earth NOW, a national nonprofit based in Colorado, we have found it is easy to transform these collections into healthy food drives.

Education is the key. We start by giving donors lists of healthy non-perishables. We encourage them to give the foods they feed their families. The food they donate doesn’t have to be more expensive since in most cases, the healthy versions of non-perishables are the same price as the less healthy ones.

For example, a can of tuna in water is the same price and far healthier than a can of tuna in oil. The same is true when you swap out sugary cereals for whole grains, white rice for brown and granola bars for cookies.

When we converted our food collection to a healthy food drive nearly a decade ago, our local food bank resisted the idea, fearing donations would decrease. But the opposite occurred, and donations increased substantially. Clearly, we proved it’s possible to have both quality and quantity.

With some simple adjustments to the way we give, we can turn food drives into true acts of generosity, ones that provide real benefits to their recipients — and to society at large. Next time you’re asked to contribute to a food drive, think before you donate. Every person deserves healthy food.

Tribune News Service

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
Geraldine Van Bueren: Making food a basic right
The run-up to Christmas is often a time of overindulgence, with food taking centre place. However, many people, including those working and using food banks, are going to..
Richard Williams: When it’s food, what’s in a name?
Vegetarian interlopers are carving out a growing foothold in the meat and dairy sections of America’s grocery stores, and the conventional food industry is not happy abou..
Jocelyn Chang: While we waste food, others waste away
At school and company cafeterias, we pile up our plates with all the most attractive looking foods. Sometimes we overestimate our stomach capacities and, too stuffed to f..
Duff Goldman: Bakers choose what, not whom, to serve
Since I opened my doors to the public 15 years ago, I’ve made about every cake design that you can imagine. You name it, I’ve probably put it on a cake, or at least been ..
Jennifer Lipman: Beware of ‘food evangelism’
Will it be the pastor who was a builder before becoming a baker, or the PE teacher who “bakes in her pyjamas”? The engineer who tries to “push the boundaries of baking” o..
Advertise | Copyright