Eating healthy food every day is a luxury for over half a million people in Central and Eastern North Carolina. Thousands of working families can’t afford fresh fruit, whole grains, or lean meat rich with protein. When children don’t eat enough nutritious food, it affects their ability to learn new things in school, and they have an increased risk for chronic disease. Thousands of seniors living on a fixed income choose to buy lifesaving medication rather than groceries, forcing them to get by on meager rations. At the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, we believe that access to healthy food is a basic right. That’s why we’re committed to helping food insecure families, children, and seniors get the nutritious food they need to lead active and healthy lives. Here are some of the ways we do that:
- The Food Bank continues to increase the nutritional quality of the food we distribute as we look for new ways to provide healthier food and promote nutrition to the people and communities we serve. Every week we provide more than 365,000 pounds of fresh produce to our neighbors in need across our service area. With the generous support of our donors, food industry partners, and volunteers, we distributed more than 19 million pounds of produce last year. More than half of all the food we distribute every day is perishable including meat and dairy items and fresh produce. We pay special attention to the food we provide to the community and distribute as much fruit, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains as possible, and limit items that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugar.
- Our Kids Meals & More programs provide children with nutritious snacks and meals after school, over the weekend, and during the summertime to make sure they can concentrate in school and grow into healthy adults. These programs also teach them about nutrition and help make sure they get enough exercise and academic support.
- We also work with our partner agencies and provide them with nutrition education in order to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and even recipes they need to further promote healthy lifestyles throughout our communities.
March is National Nutrition Month. We know that nutrition is important to you and your family. This month, help us make sure that all children have the opportunity to eat healthy food and grow up to be big and strong. Here are three things you can do to help us provide healthier food to our neighbors in need:
- Donate healthy food items to the Food Bank such as whole grain pasta, peanut butter, granola bars, and canned fruits and vegetables. Pay special attention to the nutrition information on canned goods. Food that is low in sodium, trans fat, and sugar is the goal! (View our most needed items list here.) You can also donate online to help us acquire more nutritious food and sustain our Kids Meals & More programs.
- Volunteer at any of our six branches to help prepare food for distribution including sorting fresh produce. Learn more and sign up here.
- Spread the word. Share this blog post with your friends and family via email or social media. Be sure to tag us @FoodBankCENC.
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Stay tuned for more posts throughout the month highlighting our work in the community promoting health and wellness for all.