Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Banks Striving to Serve Healthy Food

High calorie, nutrtionally-week food is cheap.  That's a lesson anyone can learn just by buzzing through a McDonald's drive-thru.   I love my dollar fries.  But what's a 'treat' for me, a deviation from my typical healthy lunch of nitrate-free lunch meat on whole wheat bread with baby carrots and hummus, is what, by necessity, too often passes as a meal for those of lesser means.  One in six Americans are at risk for hunger, and that means cheap food is a necessity and that more-expensive healthier options are simply out of reach.

Our nation's food banks are striving hard to provide healthier food to those who need it most.  It's not an easy task.  As this article from NPR explains,  food banks are often forced to accept donations of nutritionally-poor foods such as soft drinks and candy.  At a time when demand for food-bank assistance is growing,  those who feed the hungry simply can't turn away donations of shelf-stable food of any type.

What can you do to help?  Here are some very simple things you can do to get more nutritious food to those who need it.

1.  Donate cash.  Harvesters, a BBB Accredited Charity, distributes food to food banks and soup kitchens all over the Kansas City metro area.  Your cash donation enables them to purchase healthier food items for the many people they serve.

2.  When you donate food items, donate healthy options.  The next time your work place or child's school has a canned-food drive, skip the chips and donate healthier options like beans or canned vegetables.

3.  Plant a Row For the Hungry.  As you start planning your spring and summer garden, plant an extra row of lettuce, squash, peas, or other delectible and donate that row's bounty to Harvester's or a local food bank.  Click on the link above to find drop-off locations for perishable garden produce. 


  1. Its good that our nation's food banks are striving hard to provide healthier food to those who need it most. It's not an easy task but still its good to know that there's an effort to do those such thing. Will certainly visit your site more often now.


  2. It's a great idea to donate to a local charity or church's food pantry. Many people don't know this, but Harvesters CHARGES people for the food they distribute. It's not completely free. The charities that distribute the food are charges @ 10 cents per pound for canned goods, household items, etc. that they receive from Harvesters. You may think that 10 cents per pound isn't much, but when you think that 1 can of green beans is approx. 1 pound, the average family of 4 consumes @ 40-50 pounds of these commodity foods per week(remember, the "weight" of what Harvesters charges include the can as well), This can add up rather quickly. (i.e. $100 for 1000 pounds serves only 20 families)
    For charities who are already very, VERY strapped for cash, this creates a situation where they have to limit the number of families they can service based upon what they have to pay to havesters.

    Thanks a lot, Harvesters.

    So please, only give to local charities that distribute food free of charge.