This month we focus on nutrition
March 2, 2010
Nutrition seems to be top of mind for everyone these days. I know for me it is. Fortunately, I am able to afford a gym membership and healthy fruits and vegetables, which help me to lead a healthy lifestyle.
But what about those who cannot afford the luxury of a gym membership? Or the basic necessity of fruits and vegetables?
This week marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month®. It also marks the first in a series of articles that we will feature this month about what we as a network are doing to offer the most nutritious foods possible to help those in need live a healthier life.
National Nutrition Month is an annual educational and informational campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association. The theme for this year’s activities is “Nutrition From the Ground Up.”
Providing nutritious foods is a high priority of Feeding America—and we strive to do this every day. In fact, more than half of the food we distribute to our member food banks is nutritious.
We are committed to offering the most nutritious mix of foods that we can and have developed a number of strategies to do so—and include:
• increasing retail store donations —meaning more protein, dairy and produce;
• building financial support to help food banks acquire more produce; and
• expanding our food solicitation program which prioritizes manufacturers of nutritious foods.
Last year, fresh produce was the largest category of food that we provided our network nationwide. Some of our largest fresh produce categories included potatoes, apples and carrots to name a few.
Improving nutrition among children is especially vital as it directly affects their health, school attendance and performance.
Our network supports child hunger programs across the country, such as Kids Cafes, Backpack and after school programs. Collectively, these programs serve more than 37 million meals each year to children when they need it most —after school and during the weekends.
In addition to nutritious foods, we believe nutrition education is equally important in helping those in need follow a healthy diet.
And, more than half of our member food banks provide nutrition education as a regular program to agencies and those in need.
For the Feeding America network it’s not just about filling people up with food; it’s about nutrition and sustenance to help families grow stronger in every way.