A few weeks ago, when Scott was out of town, and I was headed out of town, I took some of our extra fresh veggies to the local food bank and was surprised to learn how many families they help, and how much need there is in this area. With only two full time staff, a few part-timers and as many volunteers as they can get, they do a world of good for the local community, and I think we should all do a small part to help out more.
I am particularly fond of Food Banks and similar programs (even WIC) because they provide nutritious food to those who could use a little extra help, alternatively, while a good idea, food stamps can often be abused - either being sold in order to purchase non-food items, or are used to purchase fatty, sugary, unhealthy foods. I witnessed both of these working at a grocery store in small town Nebraska for three years.
Obesity-related illnesses and complications are now responsible for nearly one-tenth of the nation's annual health-care costs.
With the negative effects of obesity ranging from physical and mental health, to economic, it is more important than ever to encourage healthy eating (alongside exercise). But, many people who cannot afford food cannot afford healthy food. That is where local food banks come in.
Specifically the State College Area Food Bank does its share:
* In 2009, we provided 15,031 bags of groceries to 2,242 people in 789 households. Approximately 37% were children under the age of 18 and about 7% were age 60 or older. Two hundred eleven people were first-time users of our services.
* The number of visits by those families needing service nine or more times in a twelve month period increased by nearly 70 percent from 2008 to 2009.
* In 2009, more than 75-85% of the food we distributed was donated.
Scott and I are fortunate enough to be able to purchase nutritious food (although we slack sometimes), as are most of the people who will read this blog. So, I encourage everyone to think of donating food, time or money to their local food bank. You can even donate online to the State College Area Food Bank!