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.