With Thanksgiving Day approaching, I’m counting my blessings. Freedom is the greatest blessing any American enjoys, and I’m especially thankful that we live in a nation with plenty of food choices. We certainly can’t have food choices, like locally grown, without the dedicated farm families who take pride in providing wholesome and healthy food choices for everyone.
As I sat down to write my grocery list for the food items I’m planning to make for our Thanksgiving meal, I was reminded that not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy a feast with family and friends. Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger? One in eight Iowans – approximately 400,000 – is food insecure, meaning they lack the resources to live an active and healthy lifestyle. One out of 5 Iowa children does not know where his next meal will come from.
Many of these individuals have been faced with a job loss or unforeseen expense that has brought on the burden of wondering how they will put food on their tables. To help other families put food on their table, last week our family donated to the Franklin County Food Pantry.
But if I would have known then what I know now, our donations would have been different. First of all, I would have included some toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and bar soap, plus paper products and garbage bags as these items cannot be purchased with food stamps.
Secondly, I would have made sure my donated items contained more ready-to-go meals like beef stew and chili with meat. I also would have included a box of crackers along with instant soup packets. Finally, I would have donated canned potatoes, carrots and peas because green beans are most often donated. I also would have donated canned fruit other than pineapple, which is most commonly donated.
“We surveyed food banks and the items we found to be most in demand are: canned chicken and canned tuna, peanut butter, soup, boxed meals, pasta, canned veggies and canned fruit,” says Lindsey Haley, Operations Manager for the Iowa Food Bank Association.
If you plan to donate food items to your local food bank, please:
Choose boxes (rice, potatoes, macaroni, etc.) as bags of food can tear easily.
Donate low-sugar cereal like plain Cheerios or Raisin Bran.
Purchase instant meals like oatmeal or biscuit mix that only require water because they’re easier to make.
Know that cans, cartons or boxes of powered and evaporated milk are always needed.
Remember that juice boxes, applesauce containers and granola bars make great snacks for kids.
The best donation a person can make is a cash donation as the food banks can purchase approximately 4 meals for every $1 that’s donated, adds Haley. Because $1 can make such a big difference, I’m making a monetary donation this week to help fight hunger. Are you up for the challenge?
Sign a canned food item, donate it to your local food bank, and then challenge three of your friends to do the same. Use the hashtag #CanHunger and see how we can all help make a difference. #CanHunger this holiday season!
I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving! And in case you’re interested, I’m sharing the recipe that I’ll be making this Thursday for Cranberry Fluff.
1 lb Cranberries, Finely chopped
1 cup Crushed Pineapple, Drained
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 (16 oz) bag Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Whipping Cream, Well Beaten
Put Cranberries through food processor.
Add Marshmallows, Pineapple and Sugar.
Mix well and let stand covered overnight in refrigerator.
In the morning(before serving) add the homemade whipped cream.