As we approach the midway mark of 2021, it’s encouraging to see the progress that’s being made in the management of the COVID-19 crisis. After a year of isolation, doubt, and fear, getting plugged back into our communities is a welcome change. With that said, it’s important to remember that the persistent issue of undernourishment has not taken a break during the pandemic.
At Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, we’re still as dedicated as ever to providing nutritious food to those in need. We’re hard at work with volunteers, donors, and community members to ensure that income is not a barrier to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, in an area as big as the Greater Valley, transportation and accessibility can be just as big of a barrier to food security as income.
Mobile Fresh Pickup
In typical Second Harvest fashion, our amazing members and donors are partnering with community centers, local establishments, and places of worship to make our food even more accessible! All across the Greater Valley, Second Harvest (and our flashy new logo) is making a concerted effort to show up where we’re needed most.
It’s hard enough to grapple with the issue of food insecurity without factoring in the time, expense, and unfamiliarity that can come with traveling to a foodbank outside of your community. By extending mobile fresh pickup hours to evenings and weekends, people with work and caretaking obligations are still able to access a wide range of healthy food options in a location that’s more, well, local.
Extended Evening and Weekend Hours
Starting May 10th, the Second Harvest team is going to be working overtime to ensure that communities across the Greater Valley are getting the nourishment they need. For information on the exact dates, locations, and times of our extended pickup hours for the month of May, click here and scroll to the calendar at the bottom of the page!
Thank You to All Our Amazing Partner Establishments!
All of us here at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley would like to take a few moments to thank all of the partner establishments that are making the extended programming possible this month:
When looking for food donations for food banks, non-perishable ones are an excellent choice. Just like what you would usually stock your pantry with, this type of food is highly recommended by food banks because they’re convenient, has a long shelf life, and easy to consume.
Some foods can last for a few weeks to months, while others can even last for years. Moreover, they don’t require refrigeration but must be kept cool and dry.
Non-perishable items are also essential in emergency situations, which is why they’re favored by many charitable organizations. Although some items like macaroni and cheese are packed with preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients, there are still non-perishable items that are available today.
Knowing what types of non-perishable items that are beneficial to food banks will make your donations matter more. So, don’t just grab anything—check if they can help feed families and improve their health as well.
What are non-perishable foods you can get for food donations?
Some of the healthiest non-perishable food items are dried and canned beans, nut butters, grains, and many more.
It’s important to note that food banks can purchase fresh meats, eggs, butter, bread, fruits, and vegetables to include in their food bags. They will also mix these foods with non-perishable items to help families get by for a week or even more.
The good news is, there are now many non-perishable items you can get today. A rule of thumb when making food donations is to ensure that you’re getting nutritious ones. Even though some foods are canned doesn’t mean they’re not nutritious. In fact, you will be surprised that some are even more nutritious than fresh ones.
With that, it’s essential to read what’s on the label because only then will you be able to know if you’re getting the good stuff. Consider the families that will eat the foods; most of them are out of jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. It’s likely that they’re not able to consume enough nutrients, while others don’t get to eat at all.
Therefore, providing nutritious foods will help them build their health for the better.
It’s also a good idea to check with your local food bank what they need as well, so you get to shop for foods that people will be able to use at that time.
So, next time you see a local food bank and you’re thinking of what to give, non-perishable items are an excellent option.
We have shared some of the healthiest non-perishable food items you can donate at food banks in this post. Make sure only to donate healthy ones to ensure that you’re giving the best to families and individuals who are in need of them the most. Non-perishable items can last long without spoiling and are important in various situations.
If you’re thinking of donating to a food bank and you’re wondering what types of foods you can give, canned goods are the most convenient option. Food banks provide for families who struggle to put food on the table; therefore, you need to ensure that what you’ll donate is convenient, easy to eat, and nutritious.
Fortunately, many canned goods today are filled with nutrients; some are even more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. You only need to know which ones to get and choose.
In this post, we have listed some of the canned goods you can donate to your local food bank that will benefit the families they will be given to:
1. Canned Soup
Canned soups are one of the best canned items you can give to a food bank. In general, soups are mostly liquid, which is a great way to stay full and hydrated. Moreover, depending on the soup, it can give the immune system a boost.
Canned soups contain nutrients, depending on the type of soup and the way it’s made. They’re convenient because all the people need to do is heat them up, and just like that, they get a hearty and warm soup that is perfect during cold weather.
Remember, food banks’ goal is to provide food for people immediately, and a canned soup is extremely convenient.
2. Canned Fruits
There are so many great things about canned fruits, such as their convenience and affordability. They are already packed, which means that food banks don’t need to worry about soiled fruits, while people who receive them don’t need to go looking for a knife or a peeler to consume them.
Moreover, most canned fruits have the same nutrients as fresh and frozen produce. They have a longer shelf life as well which makes them ideal for food banks.
Plus, canned fruits are safe because the canning processes use high heat levels to preserve the food. In turn, this helps prevent the growth of pathogens that are the cause of food-borne illness.
Also, it’s essential to note that canned fruits are processed within hours of harvest that makes them healthy and taste delicious. When buying canned fruits to donate to food banks, select the ones that don’t contain added sugar or sodium. It’s also good to know that canned fruits that are stored in their own juice versus syrup are lower in calories.
3. Canned Vegetables
Often maligned source of vitamins and nutrients, you might be surprised to know that canned vegetables are healthier than fresh produce in some cases. Why?
Fresh produce loses nutrients on the way to the store, but generally, canned vegetables are processed upon harvest when the nutritional content is at its highest.
The canning process that takes place after harvest involves cutting, peeling, and quick cooking. Sure, these things can deplete water-soluble vitamins but once they’re canned, the nutrition levels can stay the same for at least two years. The canning process also helps enhance the disease-fighting phytochemicals beta-carotene and lycopene, which means most canned vegetables are healthier than fresh ones.
4. Canned Fish
When it comes to canned fish, there’s no question when it comes to its versatility, affordability, and nutrients. Let’s just say, it’s the unsung hero of your pantry.
Whether it’s tuna, salmon, or sardines, trust that the food bank you give canned fishes to will appreciate it, as well as the people who will eat it.
Canned fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your overall health and wellbeing.
These are the top three canned fish that you can get to donate to a food bank.
5. Canned Stew
A good example of canned stew is beef stew that can provide warmth. This is perfect for the cold weather. Even if some of them are quite high in sodium, you can balance it out by donating other nutritious foods.
6. Canned Beans
Canned beans are widely available, but you need to be selective when donating them to a food bank. It’s best to choose the ones that are simply beans. Moreover, they shouldn’t contain any ingredients like sugar or salt. Look for no-salt-added varieties, which means you should really read the label before you purchase.
Beans, such as red beans, lentils, soybeans, and split peas are super-rich source of nutrition.
A huge part of what food bank provides is nutrition education and providing families with healthy foods. With that, people who like to donate are encouraged to give healthy foods to enhance the nutrition of people who are in need, especially children.
Stick to foods that are low in fat and sodium, high in protein, and rich in good ingredients that you would normally find in your homes. You don’t need to go too far to get these items as there are many healthy canned goods in local groceries you can get.
Food banks are looking for healthy options to ensure individuals who will receive them are getting the nutrients they need. So, when you’re thinking of food donations, canned foods are an excellent choice because they’re usually nutritious and they’re very convenient. Some won’t even require a can opener, which makes it even better.
Shop wisely for food donations so individuals who will receive them will be able to get the most out of them. Use the information here to find the best canned goods as food donations!
Are you looking for volunteering opportunities in your local area? Food banks are one of the best places where you can volunteer, especially during the holidays. Every food bank is different; they welcome volunteers but the process will vary.
Some food banks will give you specific training should you sign up for a long-term volunteer engagement. Whether short- or long-term, the rules will be discussed with you.
You need to know certain rules, such as the clothes you need to wear, and other safety rules. Some safety rules may include not using mobile phones and other electronic devices in the warehouse. It’s essential you pay close attention to the orientation and/or training when you plan to volunteer.
What Will You Do?
When you volunteer at a food bank, you will have several tasks. What makes it a fulfilling experience aside from being able to help people is that every experience is unique, which makes it worthwhile.
Here are some of the things that you would do at a food bank:
Sorting and Packing
As a volunteer, you may be assigned to sort and pack the items that are donated to the food bank. You can also help keep the shelves stocked by assembling the boxes of food that are ready for distribution.
Assist at Mobile or Drive-Thru Pantries
Food banks have mobile or drive-thru pantries that you may be assigned to. This way, you will be able to engage with the people who need food supplies.
Volunteering Opportunities from Home
There is an option for volunteers to do the work from home. Usually, this involves helping with fundraising and spreading awareness.
Here’s one thing we’re sure of: at food banks, every day in the food bank is a bit different than the day before. You could be asked to do several different activities. So, before you sign up for volunteering opportunities, it’s crucial that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Meet a Huge Need
There are so many organizations that are working tirelessly to help those in need. Volunteering opportunities like this give you the chance to help. At the same time, volunteering is fun—you can do what you love while you help others.
Finally, someone (or a lot of people) will always be grateful for your time! When it comes to volunteering, there’s no amount of time that is too small.
Volunteering can change your life, if you let it. Go into the experience with a good attitude and an open mind. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed with your busy schedule. In some situations, you could even end up questioning if you’re really making a difference. But the moment you see the smiles of the families you’re helping and some hugs, you know that everything will be worth it.
With that said, volunteering is an excellent opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up on. Volunteering at food banks is one of the best ways you can help other people.