Community Food Drives, the importance of donating with purpose and intention.
I have a confession, and I’m not proud to admit this. When it came to community food drives, I used to do a quick rummage through the back of the pantry to see what I can send.
Needless to say, there was little to no thought or intention to what I was giving because “At least I’m donating something” – right? I ignorantly thought that whatever I sent was better than nothing.
Then I met Ms. R.
Ms. R had been referred to me for nutrition counseling. She was willing and ready to do the work necessary to improve her health. She had been exercising regularly, reducing her portions, and trying to make better choices.
During one of our sessions, I was to meet her in her kitchen to go through her pantry and teach her how to cook healthy with the food she had on hand (this was a few years ago, pre-COVID).
Our meeting started off well. Ms. R was eager to learn how to prepare healthier meals for her husband and herself. Then I asked if I could see what she had in her pantry and fridge.
She bowed her head as she said, “I won’t be able to go to the grocery for another week, so there’s not much in there.”
With naive optimism, I replied, “It’s OK, I want to show you how we can work with what you have.”
In the fridge, there were some eggs, 1/2 loaf of bread, mayo, and an orange.
Before opening her cupboard, she prefaced with “All I have is what I got from the food pantry earlier this month.”
My heart dropped as my eyes saw the boxes of mac n cheese, canned ravioli, baked beans, Oreos, and canned corn.
That was it.
All I could think was, “Shame on me! I am part of the reason why Ms. R has limited food options. I don’t think before I give!”
At this point you’re probably thinking:
“Shame on YOU! You should know better.” or “I do the same thing! I never thought about it like this.”
If you rely on the donations from the food banks to feed your family, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I did not give with more intention, and I promise to do better.
If you relate to similar thought patterns I’ve shared, I invite you to join me in being more intentional with what and how we give to our local food pantries.
As Maya Angelo said, “When we know better, we do better.” I now know better, and if you’re still reading, you do too.
Now we must do better.
Together we CAN make a difference, and we can teach our children about the importance of giving with intention.
Eat Fit Acadiana and Healthy Acadiana have partnered to help spread the message. During October, we are hosting a community-wide healthy food drive. You can download this free toolkit and share it in your community, church, school, and workplace.
A few things to consider:
- No glass
- Avoid jumbo size products
- Read expiration dates
- Before hosting food drive go to download Eat Fit Donation pantry list and encourage people to donate things such as brown rice, raw oats, beans, peas, lentils, canned tuna, peanut butter, low sodium canned soups, no added salt vegetables, no added sugar fruit, powdered milk, olive oil, low sodium seasoning, dried herbs, spices
- Call your local food bank and ask if they need any specific item that you could focus your collection on
And remember, we all can nourish and fuel a healthier community. From the words we feed each other, to the food we share, what we give matters.
Check out this podcast with Parenting in Acadiana talking specifically about the food drive