This morning I saw a short segment on the news and it shocked me. It was a segment about the Food Bank and the hampers that are available for people in need. In short, it was appalling. A family, repeat a FAMILY, is allowed to come to the food bank once every two weeks. The example of the hamper that one might receive was dismal, filled with highly processed, nutritionally void items like Chef Boyardee Ravioli, Rice-a-Roni, Ramen Noodles and that nuclear yellow, totally synthetic Liptons Chicken Noodle Soup and not much else. How this is supposed to support a family for 2 weeks is anyone’s guess. There was not a single item that I saw that looked like I would ever consume it, nor that I would ever feed a friend. The products to be used as a “supplement” looked to be more like a burden than help. These items have been so processed that in the end they offer nothing more to an already taxed situation than insane levels of sodium, numerous preservatives, colorants and inferior quality ingredients. How can this serve as HELP? Knowing what we know about nutrition all of these products do nothing to fuel a stressed individual in a way that will assist their body to get thru their challenges. These foods will send them closer to many imbalances and eventually diseases creating an even more disappointing picture. Is it fair that some of the most stressed people in our communities are dealt such weak hands? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not discounting the generosity of those that donated the food in the first place. I only think that it is time to really consider the way we approach our donations to the food bank.

My mantra for this is: If you wouldn’t serve it to a friend, why donate it to those in need? We need to be donating nutrient dense foods that can be utilized in a variety of ways and extended over a few days; foods that pack a punch in terms of vitamins and minerals, fiber and protein. I know we are all on tight budgets these days but it doesn’t have to break your bank supporting the food bank.

On that note, I’ve put together a list of items that you can pick up for donation and feel good about knowing that your actually FEEDING someone and not just filling the void.  You know how much better a good meal can make you feel, set your goal to give that feeling and not just “stuff.”·   

·          Soup Stock, Chicken, Beef or Vegetable, Low Sodium

·          Tetra Pack Soups

·          Canned Beans, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Lentils

·          Canned Corn

·          Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Low Sodium

·          Dried Whole Grains, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oatmeal, Steal Cut Oats

·          Whole Grain, corn, brown rice Pasta

·          Peanut Butter, natural

·          Canned Tuna, Salmon

·          Salsa

·          Curry Paste, Spices (readi-mix Tex-mex, Curry, Thai, Greek seasonings etc)

·          Salad Dressings and condiments

·          Pasta Sauce

·          Whole Grain Cereals

·          Whole Grain Crackers and crispbreads

·          Whole Wheat Flour

·          Natural Dried Soup Mixes

·          Tetra Pack Almond Milk

·          Coffee Beans

·          Sealed Packages of Trail Mix, Dried Fruits etc.

·          Cooking Oils, Olive and Safflower