In conjunction with the Critical Issues Seminar on Public Education in June, the NC Council of Churches will be collecting non-perishable items to support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies program. In addition, Catering with a Cause, an IFFS job-training program, is providing the lunch for seminar participants.
According to Feeding America, North Carolina ranks in the ten worst state in the percentage of children under 18 who are lacking food on a regular basis. Children need basic sustenance and adequate nutrients to perform well in school.
In the past year, Partners in Health and Wholeness has co-hosted several Healthy Food Pantry Workshops. Through these we have hoped to begin discussions and education about how to promote health for all through what we donate to area food pantries. How can we live out our faith by being thoughtful and loving through the items we choose to donate? What should we keep in mind when choosing what items to donate?
As you prepare your donation for the Critical Issues seminar, keep in mind the guidelines and needs of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle along with these additional tips. Most importantly, read the labels of the food you are donating. If you do not do this while shopping for your own groceries, it is a great habit to get into! Make sure to pay attention to the following:
- Sugar content: Be aware specifically of added sugars.* When choosing fruit to donate, avoid those canned in heavy syrups. Rather, choose those canned in their own juices.
- Sodium: Look for low-sodium options. A canned food item is considered “low sodium” if it has less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Canned vegetables should say, “no salt added.”
- Fat: Look for options that have low fat or no added fat. For example, look for meats that are canned in water instead of oil. When choosing peanut butter, trans-fat content should be zero and partially hydrogenated oils should not be in the ingredient list.
- Choose whole grains. The words “wheat” or “multi-grain” do not necessarily mean the item is whole grain. Make sure you read the ingredient list and look for the words “whole grain” there.
And remember, by supporting the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle or your local food pantry, you have the opportunity not only to combat hunger but to provide healthy, nutritious options for those in need. We welcome your donations to support the Backpack Buddies Program!
*On average, the American Heart association recommends keeping added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men daily. This equals about 24g and 36g, respectively. Keep in mind the average 12 oz soda has about 40g. For more information see the AHA’s website.