Happy National Nutrition Month!

by Jean Blish Siers *

Choose My Plate

March is National Nutrition Month, according to the US Department of Agriculture website, and a time to celebrate healthy eating! There should be much to celebrate. Most of us are familiar with the “My Plate” logo, adopted in 2010, which puts greater emphasis on vegetables and fruits, with smaller portions of grains, dairy, and proteins. And earlier this year, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its report acknowledging that the American diet remains too high in sugars and refined grains, and encouraging us to eat more of what we have come to call “the outside of the grocery store”: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and low-fat meats. Knowing we have work to do is the first step to moving forward, and these are great recommendations!

The problem? As wages and government benefits remain largely stagnant for whole swaths of Americans, the prices of the very foods that are recommended for a healthy diet have increased, creating an even greater barrier to good nutrition and food security. According to the USDA, for example, the price of fresh vegetables increased by 4.3% between January 2014 and January 2015. Beef increased by 19% and eggs by 8.2% in the same time frame. Fresh fruit rose by 1.7%, and is expected to increase an additional 3.5% in 2015.

As prices on the foods we should be eating have increased, the minimum wage hasn’t changed since 2009. (Someone working full time at minimum wage would earn about $15,000.) The cost-of-living increase for those on Social Security was a mere 1.7% in 2014. Our seniors are some of our most vulnerable citizens: one quarter of seniors in the Charlotte area are food insecure, putting them at risk for a variety of health problems.

So let’s celebrate National Nutrition Month by working to bring healthy food to those who need it most and can afford it least! Better jobs and better pay are part of the solution. Better education is also needed. And saving the food that would go to waste is a no-brainer! A dollar donated to Society of St. Andrew will put about 42 servings of fresh fruits or vegetables on plates in our communities. Cheers!

* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator, and a regular contributor to this News & Events blog.

 

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VOLUNTEER WAIVER

In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

Photos, videos, and other images in which I, or a registered family member, appear that are taken during gleanings may be used by the Society of St. Andrew for news coverage, newsletters, reports, displays, and for other print, broadcast, web, or electronic news or promotional purposes.

I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.