Posts filed under ‘At the Food Bank’

Bravo to Community Fruit Rescue

Fruit rescue.org

(Image via FruitRescue.org)

What a great idea!  And as a food bank volunteer, I say thank you! to Boulder’s Community Fruit Rescue.

Our mission is to inspire Boulder residents to harvest, share, and celebrate the bounty of our urban forest.

[...]

When a homeowner is overwhelmed by the bounty of their fruit trees, they call on us to mobilize a team of volunteer pickers. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the homeowner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 or more is delivered by bicycle to local organizations feeding the hungry in our community. Everyone wins!

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(Another way in which this helps is that this time of year bears come down from the mountains looking to pack in the calories prior to going into hibernation. On average three bears are killed a year here in town (often leaving cubs behind who can’t fend for themselves) so the more we remove the food that attracts them, the better.)

September 9, 2014 at 2:22 PM Leave a comment

How Much Does Washington Think It Can Squeeze Food Banks?

HELP A FOOD BANK

NEAR YOU TODAY

Regular readers here know that I volunteer once a week at a food bank here in Boulder, Colorado.  I started there in February, 2009 after spending four years sitting at a computer working on Outfoxed and at the Newshounds.  I needed to be around people!  Volunteering there has been one of the sweetest experiences of my life.

Anyway, thanks to the banks crashing the economy (enabled by government policies), deficit reductions austerity measures and just plain no community relief whatsoever coming out of Washington, food banks are increasingly being asked to take up the slack in providing services.  People are being priced out of affording a decent living in our new low wage society and non-profits who already operated on a shoestring budget are expected to do more and more and more.  It is getting so bad, my food bank is even soliciting donations from its volunteers.  Get a load of this part of a letter I got on Friday:

As you know, [our food bank] been a vital community resource for 96 years.  Last year we conducted 17,975 face-to-face client interviews; distributed 671,230 pounds of food; provided $813,101 in direct financial assistance; and provided short-term or transitional housing to 145 families staying in our 51 apartments.  The demand for our services continues to grow.

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Each year it becomes increasingly difficult to find adequate funds to support the great work that you help us do every day. Less government support, increasing demand for services, job growth primarily in low-wage arenas and more nonprofits competing for fundraising dollars make it very challenging to find necessary resources.

How long do the bubbleheads in Washington think they can continue to squeeze organizations like the one I volunteer for?  Eventually the donating public runs out of steam as more and more nonprofits ask for donations.  Then the non-profits have to compete for the scraps.

But hey, we apparently have billions of dollars to suddenly spend on a new (three year?) war against ISIS.  This really is an endless war, isn’t it?  If ISIS (and the new iterations of it that will inevitably develop after we crush what’s there now) wants to destroy us, maybe they should hang out and wait a bit because we’re doing a good job of committing slow-motion suicide as a country on our own.

September 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM Leave a comment

Think People Who Go to Food Banks Gave it Good?

UPDATED below @8:59 p.m. EDT 1-28-14.

Last week, while doing my usual Friday morning volunteer job at our local food bank, I was straightening out the snack and treat area when I came across some Pop Tart-type desserts called “Zippy Cakes.”  We had a whole box of them — probably 30 or 40 — and as I was rearranging them I noticed how squishy they felt and how wet they looked.

I’d never heard of “Zippy Cakes” before so I decided to take a closer look at the ingredients, but I began by looking at the nutritional breakdown and my eyes just about bugged out of my head.  The total fat content (I know the photo below is hard, if not impossible to read…sorry) was 39% and the first ingredient wasn’t flour, it was “fractionated palm oil and cottonseed oil.”  The second ingredient was sugar.  It isn’t until we get to the third ingredient that we get to flour, which one would think would be the first ingredient in anything called a “cake.”

Zippie Fat Dognuts

So the first two ingredients are oils and the third is sugar.  Disgusting.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil,

Fractionation is a further phase of palm oil processing, designed to extract and concentrate specific fatty acid fractions. Fractionated palm oil, as found in food products, has a higher concentration of saturated fat than regular palm oil and is used for the convenience of manufacturers who like its stability and melting characteristics. The healthful aspects of natural palm oil are largely lost in the process.

So, bottom line, a friend and I tossed all those “Zippy Cakes” into the trash.  Just because people are forced to get their food from a food bank, doesn’t mean they should have to eat garbage — fatty, sugary junk with no nutritional value whatsoever.

Again, disgusting.  Products like “Zippy Cakes” shouldn’t be allowed to be made, at least with those ingredients and with that much fat.  I read somewhere a while back that we shouldn’t eat any one thing with a fat content higher than 7%.

UPDATED:

Woohah.  I just found the wrapper I took the screenshot of (above) in my printer.  Per the “Nutrition Facts” on the back, the “total fat” content of these Zippys is 38 grams or 58% of the “Daily Value.”  Saturated fat?  21 grams or 105% of the “Daily Value.”  Sodium:  320 mgs.  Carbs:  52 grams.

Eat one of these Zippy puppies per day and that’s it.  Nothing else.

January 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM Leave a comment

Republicans Kick a Million+ Lazy Ass Americans Off Their Unemployment Insurance

Got that?  Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.

Dear god of the universe:  If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this<—-  <—-:

—->  —–>

GOP not working-

And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…

 

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM 2 comments

Great News for My Food Bank

Regular readers of this blog know I volunteer at a food bank on Friday’s (should there be an apostrophe there or not?): Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) here in Boulder.

Last week there was a statewide “Colorado Gives Day,” during which people were encouraged to donate to a Colorado-based charity.  Thanks to average Janes and Joes, EFAA took in 80% more this year than last, which I just learned via this email:

EFAA Donations 12-18-13

Holy cow.  Absolutely fantastic!

December 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM Leave a comment

Is Mass Malnutrition Coming to the U.S.?

Feed the Hungry Logo

Here’s a shocking article about how austerity cuts are affecting the health of folks in the U.K.:

 

Malnutrition a Public Health Emergency, Experts Warn

Malnutrition is something most of us associate with the third world or even the world of Dickens. But new figures show hospital admissions in England have nearly doubled in the last five years.

A group of scientists and public health experts is warning the rise is evidence of a “public health emergency” which could be linked to changes to benefits.”

They cite government statistics that show there were 5,500 hospital admissions for malnutrition between 2012 and 2013 compared to just over 3,000 in 2008.

They also point to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that found families were buying cheaper more unhealthy food.

This has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late.

Letter to the British Medical Journal

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, David Taylor-Robinson from the University of Liverpool and six other academics warn: “This has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventive action.”

They say they are particularly worried about the number of children with malnutrition because it can cause cardiovascular and other chronic diseases in adulthood.

They believe the rise in cases of malnutrition, and the increase in the use of food banks, could be linked to welfare reform.

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So, that’s austerity, U.K-style.

Meanwhile, this is what’s happening here in the U.S.:

 

Meanwhile, there may be no way to prevent Congress from allowing 1.3 million people to lose their unemployment benefits, or reversing the sharp cuts to food stamps, which are one of the most destructive forms of austerity. (In fact, Republicans demand much, much greater cuts to food stamps.)

As the CNN report says, the ostensible reason to cut spending and/or raise taxes is to keep the budget deficit low. But government borrowing costs are still near historic lows, and the budget deficit is plummeting like a stone. Meanwhile, unemployment is still high, inflation is still low, and hysteresis is turning unemployment into long-run structural damage.

Overall, the austerity binge has cost the economy about 3 million jobs at this point. Put simply, this is insane, and there is no sign Congress will stop it anytime soon.

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I volunteer at a food bank.  Food banks in the area just held their big annual food drive.  We collected something like 6,000 pounds less than we did last year.  Last year we collected roughly 13,000 pounds less than the year before that.  At some point, food banks are going to get crushed under the weight of so many starving people and hey, maybe then we should get together with the U.K. and have a malnurishathon.

Geezus.  I think it’s immoral to cut services to the poorest, most desperate segments of a society.

USA, USA, USA!

 

December 4, 2013 at 12:42 PM Leave a comment

Scary Days Ahead at the Food Bank

Regular readers of this blog know that I volunteer on Fridays at my local food bank: the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA).  While we probably won’t notice a change come tomorrow, over the month of November and on into next year we likely will be more strapped than ever and have a harder time providing services to those who need it than we do today:

EFAA Canned Veggies and Freezer

EFAA Food Bank, Boulder, Colorado

[T]he really scary thing this Halloween is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the push he and others made to make sure the Food Stamp program (SNAP) is gutted… If you think Halloween is scary wait until tomorrow (November 1st) when SNAP cuts kick in and tens of  millions of folks find themselves seriously economically upended.

What’s scary is knowing that 75-80% of the new jobs added over the past 5 years are 7.25 hour jobs with the largest population of unemployed and underemployed being folks in their 40s and 50s .. Meaning that many lost their jobs in the 2008 economic melt down after working 15-20 years and never could get back in the market place…Those who have are now working at those low wage jobs taking care of kids and elderly parents with many on food stamp.

What’s scary is Cantor pushing a bill that would require folks to be enrolled in a job finding program for 20 hours a week in order to get Food stamps when many of those programs throughout various states have been cut or closed completely. In addition many of the people on food stamps work.. They simply do not make enough to cover cost for food.. But his flawed narrative appeal to those who have stereotyped those receiving help.

Even more frightening are the numbers of Democrats who have jumped into the fray and support the madness including democratic leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of Florida who said the Dems aren’t opposed to SNAP cuts.. Here in Cali Senator Dianne Feinstein voted for the Senate version of a Farm Bill  which will cut 4 billion from SNAP….Topping all this off, many of the folks who voted to gut Food Stamps are getting subsidies for themselves and people in their district via agricultural subsidies.

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EFAA is already suffering from a spike in needy cases due to the floods along the Colorado Front Range in September.  Having hundreds if not thousands of people in our area kicked off the food stamp program as of tomorrow will potentially make our caseload unimaginably worse.  The recession was bad enough without compounding events like the floods and now the SNAP situation.

Something’s gotta give.  The downward pressure on help agencies of last resort, like EFAA, is becoming almost unbearable.

October 31, 2013 at 5:14 PM Leave a comment

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