Monday, April 29, 2013

New Research Shows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Supports Healthy Diet Choices among Participants

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increases the likelihood that recipients will eat whole fruit, and leads to a modest decrease in the consumption of dark green and orange vegetables. Overall, the diets of participants and low-income non-participants are similar, according to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation Leads to Modest Changes in Diet Quality  , a report released today by USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Program participants were 23 percentage points more likely to consume whole fruit when they receive SNAP benefits than when they do not. The study’s finding on SNAP participants’ modest declines in consumption of dark green and orange vegetables may be related to time constraints of the working poor, and the preparation time required to consume those foods. While the study found that the diets of SNAP participants are similar overall to those of low-income non-participants, it found that the participants are more likely to consume less sodium and saturated fat.

“All Americans, SNAP participants and non-participants alike, have work to do when it comes to eating a healthy diet,” said Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. “The results of this study reinforce the critical role of USDA programs designed to increase access to healthy foods and nutrition education among low-income children and families to help make the healthy choice, an easy choice.”

USDA is focused on improving nutrition and empowering low-income families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food through its nutrition assistance programs.
 ■USDA provides shopping strategies and meal planning advice to help families serve more nutritious meals affordably through its 10-Tips Nutrition Series and the Thrifty Food Plan.
 ■USDA is making fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible for low-income families. More than 3,200 farmers markets and farm stands are now authorized to accept payment through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an increase of nearly 100 percent since 2010.
 ■USDA recently expanded the scope of SNAP-Ed to include targeted nutrition education and obesity prevention activities for SNAP recipients and other low-income individuals.
 ■USDA is conducting pilot projects to identify effective strategies for encouraging healthy food consumption among SNAP recipients.
 ■USDA's MyPlate symbol and the resources at provide quick, easy reference tools for parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and communities.
 ■USDA also created SuperTracker, a free online planning and tracking tool used by over two million Americans daily to help them improve food choices, maintain a healthy weight, and track physical activity.

Improving the diets of participants is a key focus of USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year.  Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net. Visit for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thank You Thursday - Kids Packs to Go Program Packing Volunteers

This collection of volunteers is comprised of two different groups. This collection of volunteers is comprised of two different groups. The first group originated from two volunteers, Connie and Vicki, who were the drivers of the Kids Pack program. They called upon a few friends to help pack the 30 to 50 Kids Packs. Since then the Kids Pack Program has grown exponentially and a second group has stepped up to help pack the 2,200 Kids Packs each month. The Northern Lights Charter School students come full of energy and are glad to give their time to help other children need. We are so thankful for our Kids Pack packing volunteers!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thank You Thursday - Retired Educator & Kleven and Friends

Retired Educators packing MAC boxes
This week we are featuring two groups who help us every month. Being a Grand Rapids resident from first grade through high graduation, it is a trip down memory lane each month when the Retired Educators group comes to help out. The retired educators group has been packing MAC and NAP boxes every month for over 10 years. This group jumped into action when we took on the project of packing the boxes and have been here ever since.

Kleven and Friends is a new group who visit monthly to help finish packing any MAC and NAP boxes left over and complete any other repack projects that we have. This group began as Jerry Kleven, a past and long-time board member, rallied the troops to help us out each month.

We are so grateful for both of these groups. The dedication of these men and women help us continue to alleviate hunger in north central Minnesota. Thank you!
Some of the Kleven & Friends repacking pasta

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thank You Thursday - Alliance and Zion Groups

Alliance and Zion Church Groups

These two groups have been helping pack MAC and NAPS boxes, once a month, since Second Harvest Food Bank took on the program. Each year these groups pack thousands of boxes for seniors, mothers, and children in need. They do a lot of work in just one morning, but do not let them fool you; they have a lot of fun while doing it. They enjoy the fellowship of each other while supporting their faith-based mission to help others in need.
We appreciate you all and all that you do! Thank you!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thank You Thursday - Morning Volunteers

We have about sixteen different morning volunteers who work every weekday to help stock the shelves of the Grand Rapids Food Shelf. They pick up bread and groceries from local churches and businesses, sort and put away food orders, and do other work as needed to get the food shelf in order for daily operation. Without this group, it would be impossible to get the all of the work done in time to open the doors for the clients who need our help. We cannot thank the morning (pie guys) volunteers enough for their valuable time and hours of labor that ensure our doors are open and our shelves are stocked! Thank you for all you do!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 CROP Walk

The 2013 CROP Hunger Walk will take place on Sunday, April 28. Area churches work together through the CROP Hunger Walk to increase awareness of hunger issues and to raise funds for programs that address hunger both locally and throughout the world.

Last year, just under 1,500 CROP Hunger Walks raised $13.4 million to help end hunger locally and around the world. One quarter of the funds raised through these walks is used to strengthen local hunger prevention programs. The Second Harvest North Central Food Bank received the local 25 percent from the Grand Rapids Area CROP Hunger Walk. The other 75 percent is used by Church World Service for relief and development projects around the world.

Many churches have been involved in countless ways to address hunger issues over the last decades. CROP Hunger Walks have been happening for more then 50 years. Statistics indicate that all this effort has made a difference. Not only has the percent of the malnourished people in the world decreased significantly, but the actual number who died because of hunger and hunger related diseases has dropped to about half of what it was forty years ago.

Walkers for the Grand Rapids Area CROP Hunger Walk will gather at the United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids at on April 28 at 1:30 p.m. for registration and send off, with the Walk starting at 2 p.m. This year there will be options for walkers: a one mile, three mile, or the traditional six mile walk. Second Harvest and Voyagers Lutheran Ministries will be providing refreshments for walkers during and at the end of the walk.

For more information or to get CROP Hunger Walk material for a congregation, contact Rev. Loren Anderson-Bauer at 326-8508.