Chicken Friday Christmas 2013 Send to Friend
By: Leah - 12/2/2013
Mark your calendars for this fun dinner!!! Last year they raised $10,000 and the goal this year is to double that amount!!
Using the Food BankTo Keep Families Healthy Send to Friend
By: Leah - 11/20/2013
This is a cool interview done by Eatocracy. Food for thought....
Marisa Miller is a married mother of two who never imagined she'd find herself relying on the kindness of others to feed her family. As a former chef, her life was filled with abundant food, and her husband had a lucrative job. Between the two of them, an organic, grass-fed, sustainable and delicious life seemed assured.
But things changed. Her husband left that job to pursue a career in a field about which he was passionate, and in the height of the recession, his salary was cut by 60%. The family became food insecure in a matter of months.
Their household income is just above the qualifying levels to receive SNAP, WIC or any other kind of assistance. After bills, Miller has just $100 left over for food, gas, clothing, band-aids, toilet paper and other necessities. She supplements her grocery-buying with trips to her local Sacramento, California, food pantry and an awful lot of thoughtful, creative cooking and meal planning.
"No one is living off Top Ramen in this house," Miller told Eatocracy in an e-mail exchange.
Here's what she had to say about dignity, practicality and perception when you're struggling to feed your family.
Eatocracy: What emotional adjustment is involved in using benefits or a food bank?
Marisa Miller: The first time you wait in line at a food pantry, you tell yourself that you donít belong there and it wonít be forever because youíre not like ďthoseĒ people. You act timid and unsure and give up the extra pack of strawberries because you think that lady with the dirty clothes and her kids must need it more. Three years later you become a Terminator, take all the cauliflower you can and start coaching the new volunteers on organization and food safety.
When we first started going I took my children thinking I was giving them a life lesson. We tried a new pantry and two of my 8-year-oldís classmates were there. I think the other mom and I were both mortified, but I was proud of us for doing what we need to do to feed our families. I hadnít considered the stigma of being a ďfood bank kidĒ though, so I go by myself on the weekend now.
Eatocracy: How much choice do people have in what their family eats when they rely on benefits or food banks?
Miller: Choices for many are also dictated by what kind of kitchen they have access to. Most of us take a car to get to the store, and the stove, refrigerator and the electricity required to run them. When we accuse people of being too lazy to take care of themselves and cook a proper meal, we assume they all have pots, pans, knives, sinks. There are people on social media who get on their high horses and call people who donít make their own pasta ďidiotsĒ. Are you kidding me?
My children were used to eating mangoes and avocados for snacks and having unlimited access to the cupboards and refrigerator. Now there is rationing. Woe to the person who eats the last egg I was saving to add protein to the salad. I turn into Mommie Dearest within seconds now, on edge all the time, trying to be the food police.
Eatocracy: What should people who have the resources to donate to food banks take into consideration?
Miller: We are all guilty of the "pantry clean-out" method of donating. Pretend itís your child or elderly mother that is going to eat it.
Peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter. Itís the one protein I can always count on to feed my kids if there is nothing else left before payday. Multigrain toast and peanut butter are so much better for you than cereal. It can go on apples, celery sticks and pretzels.
If you have a garden or fruit trees and are so inclined, pick a case and donate it. Itís not like many years ago where it has to all be non-perishable or canned.
Eatocracy: What strategies should people use for selecting food on a very limited budget or at a food bank?
Miller: Eat food with the densest nutritional quality. If you really canít afford animal protein, learn to love brown rice and beans with a bit of meat as an ingredient instead of the outdated protein, starch, veggie image that is burned into our minds.
Know the pull days at your grocery. When things come off the shelf, they either get reduced for clearance or donated to a food pantry, senior center, etc. Be there next to the man with the scanner and ask him to hand you that sour cream he just discounted 50%.
Be okay with imperfection. Buy the bag of smushy tomatoes on clearance, find the one that needs to get tossed, rinse the rest, make sauce. Expired milk that your kids think smells funny but is only a few days off the date? Thatís the time to make pancakes or waffles and have breakfast for dinner. Most bread is going to last more than a day at your house and get toasted anyway, so get the day-old bread to start with.
Most every vegetable can be turned into soup, juiced, or preserved, provided you have electricity to cook with, which, sadly, some of the nice people I meet in line, do not.
If you live in a place where there is a large supermarket chain, ask the manager which organization they donate food to and make that your primary food pantry. Trader Joeís pulls all the expired food on Friday for the weekend so Saturday is a great day to get the strawberries for free that your neighbor just paid $3 for. Don't be ashamed; you are feeding your family.
If grocery stores are not as plentiful where you, are most food pantries will let you come weekly for bread and produce. This can be a great supplement to any benefits you may already be receiving. If there are several pantries in your area, visit them all and figure out who donates what to where. My kids eat a well-rounded diet because of this.
Feedingamerica.org can give you a list of local food pantries.
Eatocracy: How crucial is it for people to learn to cook?
Miller: Itís everything in this fight against hunger. You cannot sustain good health on fake food. Even if itís only part of your diet, you must have the nutrients your brain needs or you are the battle-wounded.
The thing that we forget while weíre denigrating other peopleís poor life choices, is that not everyone knows how or is physically able to get up, let alone shop for and prepare meals.
It doesnít have to be fancy, or take more than a few minutes, but you have to kick yourself in the butt and remember that it might be easier in the short haul to open a package of something but the long term effects of poor nutrition start compounding and then it is that much harder to get motivated to feed your family the right things.
One of the reasons my family is able to remain optimistic during this tough time for us is that we stay physically fit and that helps keep us making the next right choices. Being able to nourish yourself allows you to be able to nourish others.
Eatocracy: What are a few of your go-to dishes that are nutritious, economical and satisfying?
Miller: Iím partial to dishes where meat is the condiment so I donít stress out about who got the most/biggest/best piece. Rice stir-fries donít have to be Asian-influenced if thatís not your thing. Brown rice tossed with a few ounces of Italian sausage, garlic, roasted vegetables (a carrot, a zucchini, a few mushrooms, a pepper) and a sprinkle of Parmesan (use the dried, powdered one) is a great meal and has every food group represented. Better for you than pasta. Tons of protein for little people.
We eat falafel every other week. Garbanzo beans are an incredible source of iron. Cut this recipe in half and feed a family of four for less than $5. Or keep it whole and have leftovers for lunch the next day. (See Miller's falafel recipe at Food52.com.)
I cannot stress enough the value of an ethnic market. Most other cultures eat offal and other strange things because they view food as fuel and donít want to waste a bit of it. They need to sometimes mask or enhance the taste; this is the reason Sriracha exists. Take a cue from these ancient peoples and explore all the condiments. Start with the less intense ones like pickled ginger or a different kind of vinegar.
Sautť or roast ingredients first if you are able to. If you have a tiny bit of extra money to spend, use butter instead of margarine.
Look for herbs growing wild in your neighborhood and appropriate them. If they are in someone elseís front yard, ask nicely. Very often people donít eat the all food they grow and are happy to see it not go to waste. This is especially true of citrus trees. A little fresh lemon juice will make almost anything better. The same goes for using a pepper grinder at the end of cooking. It brightens the food.
Eatocracy: What do you wish the public understood about about people who are food insecure?
Miller: If the numbers one in four are remotely accurate, then you know these people. They teach your children, put out your fires, deliver your mail. Many of us have had salary freezes and were able to afford the same food in 2010 but three years later, our income has stayed the same while the cost of bread has doubled.
The image of Jabba the Huttís crew sitting on a couch playing X-Box, stuffing their faces with lobster, waiting for a handout is wrong. We are not all lazy, unmotivated or unintelligent. We are people with families trying to make it all work. Just like you.
Kid's Cafe at TAF Academy Send to Friend
By: Leah - 11/7/2013
TAF Academy has teamed up with Food Lifeline and White Center Food Bank to feed students after school during their STEM-UP program.
Monday-Thursday middle school students from several different schools in our area come to TAF Academy to enrich their education. At 4pm the students are given a nutritious snack provided in the Kid's Cafe. The snacks consist of fruit, vegetables, starch and protein. Because of our diverse community and different dietary restrictions the kids have a the option of choosing what they can eat.
The Kid's Cafe program helps kids stay healthy and focused so they can work harder during the after school program. Funding comes from Food Lifeline and the food itself is picked at the White Center Food Bank and delivered to the Kid's Cafe.
For more information about TAF, STEM-UP and Kid's Cafe please visit:
High Numbers of Hunger Send to Friend
By: Leah - 10/15/2013
MISSING MEALS REPORT 2013
308,000 meals still needed in Western Washington every day
Missing Meals Report 2013 InfographicAfter examining all the meals already provided through government programs, food banks, along with the meals people are able to purchase themselves, Food Lifelineís Missing Meals Report estimates that there still 112 million meals missing for people in need every year in Western Washington. These numbers reflect data for 2012, the most recent year data is available.
Thatís 308,000 meals, every day that children, seniors and adults in our communities need in order to be adequately fed. Without these meals 690,000 people in our communities are going without three nutritious meals a day.
Unique to this yearís Missing Meals Report was the visible impact the recession, and its slow recovery, are having on hunger efforts.
Although many indicators show that Western Washington communities are recovering from the recession, families and individuals are still very much struggling to put food on the table. The very low income people that food banks and meal programs have traditionally served still have tremendous need and represent 53% of the people who seek food assistance in Western Washington. For these households, the ability to rely on both food banks and SNAP together keeps the number of meals that are missing from growing even larger.
Whatís changed about hunger since the recession is how it also impacts, for example, a family of three making more than $35,000 a year. These families are now also finding themselves in need of food assistance and make up 47% of those missing meals every day. Many of these individuals were laid off during the recession and although theyíve returned to work they are often underemployed and earning wages significantly lower than before the recession. Since they are not eligible for SNAP, they often (mistakenly) think food banks are closed to them as well. While they continue to struggle to get back on their feet, their local food bank or meal program is the only resource they have to help feed their families.
Community Partner Spotlight Send to Friend
By: Leah - 10/9/2013
If you havenít heard of Furry Faces Foundation before, it is time for you to know about this wonderful organization. Teri Ensley, Lora Swift and Tammy Lyle officailly started FFF in March of 2006.
So what is it that Furry Faces Foundation does? They are a foundation that believes it is important for everyone to keep their pets. They hold numerous fundraisers throughout the year that go into three different funds. Olivers Fund provides healthy food, vaccines and unexpected vet bills. Itís Hip to be Snipped speaks for itself and Tag Your Pet-It Ainít Graffiti allows for clients to buy pet tags at very low cost.
Furry Faces Foundation is important to WCFB because we have many clients with pets that cannot afford enough pet food. FFF has been very generous in donating that much needed pet food throughout the year and each year they hold a pet food drive at Christmas that really stocks our shelves.
For more information about Furry Faces Foundation or to learn how to donate please visit http://furryfacesfoundation.blogspot.com/
Volunteer Reflections Send to Friend
By: Leah - 9/9/2013
The White Center Food Bank has a home delivery program that is similar to Meals on Wheels. Every Thursday we send out a volunteer driver with boxes of food to the homes of clients that can not get to the food bank because of health issues.
Every once in awhile I volunteer to do the home deliveries and I have got to know some of the clients I bring food to. They are often so thankful not only for the food but also for the company and someone to talk to, even if it is only for a few minutes.
Last Thursday I was signed up to do home deliveries. I have done them often enough that I recognized all the names on the list and made my plan of attack to get them all done by the time I needed to pick my son up from preschool. One of the first homes I went to was a client that I know has some real health issues. She lives alone but has an agency that sends someone to help her out once in awhile. I knocked on her door. No answer. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I waited, listened. Nothing. I decided to call the food bank and have them call to check on her and I continued on with my deliveries. It took a few tries for the food bank to get a hold of her, but finally she answered her phone. The food bank called me and said she was home and ready for her delivery.
I finished my other deliveries and headed back to drop off this last box of food, and was feeling happy that she would get her food that day. When I arrived she was sitting in her motorized chair just inside her door looking very stressed out. She told me that she had heard me knocking and ringing her doorbell but she could not get to the door because she was having a seizure. She went on to tell me that she was supposed to have someone from her agency there to help her but no one had come that morning. She has a life alert button and was waiting for someone to come and help her. I stayed with her for almost an hour and talked with her, calmed her down and hoped that someone would come while I was there. I eventually had to leave to pick up my son. As I was leaving, she grabbed me and hugged me and thanked me for staying and talking to her and that she felt much better.
The point of this story for me is that sometimes volunteering at the food bank can be more than just feeding people. This woman is alone. She has no family to help her. By just spending a little time with her, I was able to help her feel better. I look forward to seeing her the next time I make deliveries.