Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March is National Nutrition Month and Minnesota FoodShare Month.   It is appropriate that we recognize the importance of nutrition along with food donations for the hungry.   Nutrition is the process of absorption of nutrients that the body needs be healthy and grow.  Without food there is no nutrition and certainly results in poor health.

In north central Minnesota, one in five children are food insecure.   They live in homes where resources are inadequate to meet basic needs and their food runs out before there is money to buy more.   Children who are hungry have more health problems and lower grades than children who have enough food.   Adults and seniors who are hungry also are more likely to be in poor health, resulting in higher health care costs.  Our community is negatively impacted when people are hungry.
Increasing access to nutritious food for everyone is critical to a healthy community.  There are many ways we can accomplish this.  The national school breakfast and lunch programs are a lifeline for children in low income households.  Improving the nutritional quality of food and making school breakfast available at every school would provide healthy meals for children who may not get enough to eat at home.
For those who don’t have enough food in the home, food shelves and soup kitchens help fill the gap.  Every March, food shelves across the state join together for a food and fund drive to raise awareness of hunger in every community and encourage donations that will help meet the need for hunger relief on the local level.  Every dollar donated can provide five meals for a child, senior or struggling adult in your home town.  Do your part to help provide nutrition, food and hope to people in need. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Be a Hunger Hero for a Child Today

Throughout the month of March, the Grand Rapids Food Shelf is joining with over 300 food shelves across Minnesota to collect donations of money and food. These donations will support local efforts to help feed people in need and reduce hunger in our community. When congregations, businesses, schools, or service clubs participate in the March FoodShare Campaign, the Food Shelf will make sure that the food and funds collected provides hunger assistance for people in our community who need it most.

Grand Rapids Food Shelf sees over 800 families each month. In order to keep the shelves stocked and meet the need, we count on local support to provide food and hope, to many desperate families trying to keep food on the table. This year, donations are down and we need your help to feed our hungry neighbors. Money collected throughout the FoodShare Campaign allows the Food Shelf to continue to act as a hunger safety net, for the remainder of the year. Without the community’s support the shelves will be empty.

You can be a Hunger Hero today. Every effort or contribution, large or small, helps us to continue to feed hungry children, families, and seniors. March is the time of year we can leverage additional dollars for the Food Shelf through donations because of the FoodShare Campaign and the Feinstein Challenge. More dollars mean we can provide more meals to our neighbors in need.

Recently a principal from a local elementary school contacted the Grand Rapids Food Shelf about a child who is continuously coming to school hungry. Hunger can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences. We were able to help the principal by providing information about the Food Shelf and other hunger relief resources for the family. Children who are hungry struggle to learn and thrive. Though many children often suffer in silence, the issue of hunger is all too common. It is a disturbing reality that 1 in 5 children in Itasca Country, live in food insecure households.

There is something you can do to help. Donate to the Food Shelf today, and give a child a brighter future.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

National Nutrition Month

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank is proud to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics during March in celebrating National Nutrition Month®. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” and encourages consumers to develop a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences.

Here are a few ways to “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

·         Personalize your eating style: The easiest way to get the nutrients your body needs is to eat healthy foods you enjoy. Finding good-for-you foods that please your palette makes eating healthfully special and exciting.

·         Eat for your lifestyle: Athletic, vegetarian/vegan, corporate and family lifestyles all have special nutritional needs, but eating right can be easy and tasty with attention to those foods that best help get you through the day.

·         Incorporate cultural and ethnic traditions: Foods from around the globe often incorporate an abundance of unique, flavorful and nourishing ingredients. Keep traditions alive and bring the world to your family’s table.

·         Keep health concerns in mind: A healthful eating plan can help prevent and treat a variety of health concerns. With modification and moderation, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while meeting your nutritional needs and health goals.

·         Make MyPlate your plate: Fill half of your plate with your favorite fruits and vegetables; keep protein portions lean and about three ounces; make at least half of your grain choices whole grains; and be sure to include low-fat or fat-free dairy.

Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. Additionally, to commemorate the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional health of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of March has been designated “Registered Dietitian Day.” In 2013, RD Day is celebrated on March 13.

As part of this public education campaign, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition around the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” theme.