Archive for the food Category

food savings just in time

Posted in economy & politics, food with tags , on December 10, 2009 by foodbankguy

Quickly, I also wanted to alert people about this opportunity to purchase discounted foods, including meat.  Perfect for the holidays!  This is a quality program that helps those struggling a little bit, stretching every dollar to make them count–find a location near you.

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turkey time!

Posted in food, food banks, fun, people with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2009 by foodbankguy

It’s officially November, which officially means Thanksgiving turkey and football.  I happen to love both those things, culminating with the 8-legged turkey they used to give out to Barry Sanders every year during the Thanksgiving day football game after he ran for 170 yards or something.  While I never believed in the existance of an 8-legged turkey, I can tell you that I wanted to believe in them more than the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.  Just seemed like a pretty damned cool idea to me, what can I say?  You gotta believe in something, right?

real turkey

john-madden-thanksgiving

I wish was real turkey... on a side note, this is the best photo of the famed bird I could come up with. come on interwebs, it's like 2010 almost and nobody's bothered to archive a better pic of an 8 legged turkey? for shame...

So sticking with the theme, wouldn’t you like to help out your neighbor with the gift of turkey?  Food banks around Arizona are happy to receive turkey donations for those who might have to go without.  Check out this select list of drop-off points and turkey drives that are just waiting for your participation!  If you know of some others not mentioned here, feel free to send ’em my way and we’ll get the word out!  And if you’ve got a good Barry Sanders or John Madden story, share that as well.

why don’t more schools do this?

Posted in child hunger & nutrition, food, metro phoenix with tags , , , on October 23, 2009 by foodbankguy

I was really excited when friend and AAFB board member David Schwake sent me this article on his unique way of keeping kids fed at his elementary school.  David is the Food Service Director for the Litchfield Elementary School District in Litchfield Park, a suburb west of Phoenix.  The district serves a large portion of households at or near poverty (defined in 2009 as a family of four living on $22,050… ouch) and David has seen the negative impacts of hunger at his school:  attendance problems, discipline issues, trouble concentrating, apathy toward learning, and so on.   Something needed to be done, and a few years ago, David jumped into action.

I’ll let the article speak for itself–go ahead, read it now!–but damn if this isn’t an inexpensive, worthy idea that is generating positive results.  I’ve also been fortunate to be David’s guest at the school, allowing me a first-hand view of all the activity, how the program works, and how the kids really respond to it… and respond they do!  It’s downright encouraging to see a bunch of 5th graders so eager to work together on a school activity.  You can’t help but realize they’re learning skills that will take them far in life, hands-on stuff, skills that a textbook–or I guess PC nowadays–just can’t convey in this way.

Amazingly, David tells me he’s done countless presentations, tours, demonstrations, you name it, to other principals, superintendents and school administrators, and while everyone seems impressed, very few have taken the next step to actually implement their own program, even though David has offered to help every step of the way.  Why isn’t every school in Arizona doing this?  There’s not even the excuse of there being no money in the budget.  If you’re wondering the same thing and interested in possibly doing something like this at the school you work at, or the school your children attend, feel free to drop me a line.

playing pepper

Posted in aafb, food, food banks, fun with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by foodbankguy

As it’s a food and a fun little baseball game during these last few hot summer days and nights, I thought playing a little pepper with a few things going on might be appropriate… 

an appropriate pepper mashup

an appropriate pepper mashup

My buddy Chet Provorse runs at ton of kids-related educational events and engagements on behalf of St. Mary’s Food Bank.  He also has a nifty blog–niftier than mine I might add–and one of his recent posts really touches the heart.  Seems that Cody Mitchell, an ambitious 7-year old kid from Glendale, has taken it upon himself to host a huge book sale to benefit the food bank after seeing a similar idea on TV.  And they say TV rots the kids’ brains…

Our friends at Western Refining have graciously decided for a second year in a row to donate 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel to help keep our Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project semi-trucks on the road.  That amount will keep them going for at least six months, and represents a huge donation that helps keep our trucking costs down, as well as those of the food banks who rely on us to help transport food around the state.   AAFB president Ginny Hildebrand was on hand to accept their generous gift:

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

I hope they have huge debit card readers at their pumps!

Another good friend of mine with a far superior blog brought this article on fighting hunger to my attention.  Turns out a city in Brazil with a population of 2.5 million people has mostly solved their food insecurity issues by embracing community involvement in government decision making, all the while reducing health costs and mostly eliminating crippling social stigmas that come with people not having enough to eat.  A must read.

There was another great article early this week on how prison inmates are helping out food banks by growing and harvesting vegetables–something that we take advantage of for the aforementioned Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project.  This really is a win/win for communities, hungry people, and inmates who are making an honest effort toward rehabilitation.  As you probably already know, the U.S. incarcerates so many people–more so than any other first-world country, and shamefully in my opinion–that it’s nice to see the ocassional story about something positive coming from that.  And another plug for Ms. Hildebrand, who has a nice quote in the article.

Finally, Hunger Action Month is next month, so start making your plans!  Ladies in particular, Macy’s is calling–soon you’ll be able to purchase tickets that entitle you to sweet discounts while also benefitting your local food bank!

summertime blues

Posted in aafb, budget, food, food banks, fun, random with tags , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by foodbankguy

Man, has it been hot lately or what?  Hot enough that this is just nuts! KIDS:  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!  The heat always seems to get me dragging a bit even though I’m a native, and indeed I have been way too lax in blogging lately.  Certainly there have been worthy things to share, but it’s just finding the time to get to them all… enough wallowing though, and on to interesting things!  Yes?  Yes!

Do you like to eat breakfast for dinner?  I sure do, and I plan to take part in the Hickman’s Eggs PJs & Eggs event this Friday, August 14 at various restaurants around Phoenix… Kiss the Cook in Glendale is where I’ll be, as it’s close to my pad.  Get free eggs, donate pajamas to foster kids, and help benefit Arizona’s Children Association… what more could you want?  Plus you are encouraged to actually wear your pajamas, which on one hand might be a good idea since you’ll get some Halloween-esque practice in, while on the other hand the pajamas I’m wearing in this heat would get me arrested… just don’t get arrested, that’s all I ask.

can your read all this fine print? if not, visit www.thehotsheetblog.com for details and participating locations

can you read all this fine print? no sweat, visit http://www.thehotsheetblog.com for details and participating locations

Fun… or not so fun… factoid: AAFB member food banks distributed an amazing 42.2% more food throughout Arizona in the 2008-09 fiscal year vs. 2007-08.  It’s truly remarkable to see the food banks step up to meet rising demand, but it’s also a sobering indication of just how hard the economy has hit many individuals and families.  We’ve also started hearing more stories like this, which is not good news at all.  Help out if you can.

Did I mention it’s hot outside?  Donate bottled water to your local food bank or homeless shelter because it’s definitely needed, and as an added bonus you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside, if not actually cooler…

What else… hmmm… oh yeah, the state’s budget situation remains unresolved with little hope of an agreement that actually benefits the majority of Arizonans, food stamp participation is up to record levels–this despite many eligible households not taking advantage,  and it’s still hot.  In the words of my man Conan, be cool my babies!

friday reflections

Posted in economy & politics, food, random with tags , , , on June 19, 2009 by foodbankguy

Just a few Friday reflections today… it’s been a busy week that has pretty much gotten by me. 

Perusing Yahoo News at lunch today, I see that world hunger has now reached one billion people.  Isn’t that amazing?  One billion people.  With all the advances in food production, supply chain, global logistics, awareness and compassion, this number has steadily risen to what it is being reported today.  I suppose it will be more tomorrow. 

I did a presentation on child hunger last night at the Valley of the Sun United Way offices, and found myself in conversation with one of the attendees, a middle-aged female instructor at one of the local community colleges in Phoenix.  She was explaining how the school had recently in essense set up a food bank for students, where they could grab a can of soup from a closet nearby and quickly microwave it in the next room over, no one the wiser.   College students are also increasingly turning to SNAP (food stamps), something that had never even crossed my mind when I was an undergrad a dozen or so years ago.  Between incredible tuition inflation and the economy, I suppose most of them genuinely need it.

My presentation had focused on the numerous resources and programs there are dedicated to fighting child hunger, and the instuctor surmised that the real issue was a lack of communication: so many programs, so many advocates, yet no one-stop shopping where people in the need or people wondering if they’re in the need could go.  I suppose if someone can crack that nut, they’ll have discovered the next big thing and profit handsomely.  But the internet–the key to recent communication innovation–eludes those who need these resources, as they oftentimes can’t afford access and may not know their local library is an access resource.

A commonly held view in food banking, and one I agree with, is that hunger is a distribution problem, not a food manufacturing one.  There’s plenty of food to feed those one billion, but it’s concentrated both by physical location and class that many go without.  That’s a supply chain problem, but it’s also a capitalistic one: people and companies that make food need to make a profit off of it.  But could they give more and sacrifice some profit margin?  Should they?  What is the obligation?  Oddly enough, if someone or some entity were willing do so and made huge in-roads, they would likely be greeting with fortune and celebrity that might offset the lost cash profits.  In today’s culture, I find it somewhat surprising that no one has truly taken that risk. 

But the instructor was right:  communication is a problem in the local here-and-now, and agencies and programs struggle to get the word out about how they can help those who need it.  Twitter connects those in the know, but what app connects those in the know with those who aren’t?

just checkin’ in…

Posted in food, fun, metro phoenix on April 30, 2009 by foodbankguy

Hi kids!

Just checking in with this week’s non-swine-flu-related-stuff…

Got a hot date this Saturday, and haven’t figured out where to go? Check out Taste of the Nation AZ at DC Ranch in Scottsdale to sample food from some of the Valley’s greatest chefs, drink fun drinks, take in live entertainment, and generally have a good time for a great cause. Get your tickets online today, and use the code TKSM for 40% off general admission tickets. As an added bonus, I’ll be there and I’ll even shake your hand, if you can figure out which generic looking thirty-something white guy I am…

If you’re looking to check out something else entirely, check out my friend Kelli’s African Kelli blog.  Maybe you’ve already heard of her.  Her blog runs circles around mine.  Besides being a pretty crafty chica and all-around big heart, she is spearheading a really cool community garden project at the Asbury United Methodist Church in central Phoenix, on Indian School at 16th Avenue.  The church has graciously donated plots of land which is being split up between refugee families, who will plant and work their lots to produce extra food and maybe even income.  They only use organic techniques, meaning they will grow things suitable for our climate here and no performance enhancing drugs or pesticides will be used.  Any family caught doping their plot will receive a 50 game suspension from the league

Asbury Community Garden photos, at the very beginning stages:

plots are outlined

plots are outlined

baby citrus trees are planted

baby citrus trees are planted

If you’d like to help out with this project, there are all kinds of opportunities… contact Kelli through her blog, linked above.