5 Fruits and Vegetables a Day the Colorful Way!
April 16, 2021 | by Food Bank For New York City |
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Food Insecurity |
In this post, we’re going to cover all the things you can and can’t donate to the network of food pantries and soup kitchens that power our work at the Food Bank For New York City. While our donation dos and don’ts may differ from other hunger relief organizations, they should still provide you with a better understanding of what kinds of resources organizations like ours are generally looking for. But before we get into our full donation chart, we want to cover a few tips and tricks for optimizing your next donation. Consider Refrigeration While several organizations in our member network may be able to refrigerate things like produce, dairy, and meat, not all food pantries and soup kitchens have this same capacity, so always make sure to double check before you donate. If it’s unclear, stick with shelf-stable goods like canned food, flour, cooking oil, or rice. Skip the Expired Goods Yes, “best of” or “expiration” dates aren’t always accurate, but that doesn’t mean you should donate expired goods to hunger relief organizations. When thinking about what to give, consider whether or not you’d be comfortable serving the item to your family. If you wouldn’t eat something past its “sell-by” date, chances are you shouldn’t donate it. No Leftovers Please You might be the best chef in the entire world, but unfortunately, we can’t accept your home-cooked meals or food items. Without knowing how the items were prepared, we’re unable to control for things like allergies and dietary restrictions. The same thing is true for any baked goods or meals you might buy from a local grocer. Don’t Break the Seal Food pantries and soup kitchens in our member network are only able to accept unopened or unused food items. This means that you can’t donate a half-used box of spaghetti or bring us a Ziploc bag of items your family no longer needs. We appreciate the spirit of this gift, but want our clients to have the same experience that any of us have when shopping for and selecting the new food items they want to eat. Prioritize Nutrition To bring a little more care to your donation, think about the nutritional value of what you’re giving. When donating canned vegetables, for example, consider giving low-sodium veggies. And if you’re thinking about donating grains or pasta, we say prioritize things like brown rice and whole grain noodles. We want to serve our clients quality ingredients that not only taste good, but do good things for the body. Now that you’ve read through these tips, take a peek at our official donation chart below. We’ve organized items into things we’d like to “prioritize” and ones we’d like to “reduce.” To learn more about our approach to community nutrition, click this link.
Chef Max Hardy has been a friend of Food Bank's for over seven years. He's been a volunteer, a supporter, a member of the Food Bank Culinary Council, and even served as an interim Director in our Community Kitchen in Harlem while it was undergoing renovations. To say that he's made an indelible mark on our mission to fight food insecurity across New York City would be quite the understatement. To learn more about the talented chef, we chatted with him about his approach to cooking and service as well as what Black History Month means to him. Check out the conversation below! What, for you, is the magic of food? For me, the magic is all about seeing people smile while they enjoy their food. Simple acts like cooking and baking bread bring people together in such a special way. My mom is Bahamian, and I have so many fun memories of us cooking together. Do you have a favorite meal memory? I definitely have a favorite career memory as a chef! I was interviewing for a Kosher catering company and they asked me to do a cooking demo for 3 Rabbis at a synagogue. They gave me a bunch of ingredients and asked me to make Matzah Ball Soup, but I had never made Matzah Ball Soup before. So, I get the Matzah meal and started to make the balls the way I would make a hushpuppy, which is totally the wrong way! I’m making my soup broth and folding my egg whites into the Matzah meal, and everything looks great when I end up serving the dish to the Rabbis. Afterward, they came into the kitchen and asked to see how I made the Matzah Balls because they knew they were wrong, but they still tasted delicious. One of the Rabbis took a Matzah Ball in his hand and threw it against the wall and it splattered and he said anytime it does that, it’s a good Matzah Ball! I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I made it work, and it's still one of my fondest chef memories ever. How can folks use food to do good? This question makes me think of Food Bank's Community Kitchen & Food Pantry in Harlem. Everyone in the neighborhood knows everyone there. One of the things we try to do at Food Bank is challenge the stigma about what it’s like going to a soup kitchen. It should feel like going to the grocery store, like going to any other place in the community. I said it earlier, but there really is something powerful about using food to bring people together. What does Black History Month mean to you? I keep saying community, but that’s what it is, right? For Black History Month, seeing the struggles that African Americans have been through and then to be an African American chef and be able to show how we have influenced food culture is important to me. I think of this month like any other month, it’s always important to show the work of African American chefs in the food and beverage industry. Lastly... if your bodega named a sandwich after you, what would it be called and what would it be? “The Busy Boss” and it would have crispy chicken tenders, spicy Caribbean slaw, and a guava spicy BBQ sauce on a toasted brioche bun. For more stories from chefs on the ground, make sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Food Insecurity |
Food Bank For New York City’s 2022 Pride Month theme is #ProudlyFed. For us, this means we not only serve the estimated 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ New Yorkers struggling to put food on the table, but that we do it with joy, love, and pride. We also recognize that food insecurity in the LGBTQ+ community is often compounded by things like workplace discrimination, healthcare inequality, and housing insecurity. A citywide survey conducted in 2017 found that over 18 percent of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers had experienced homelessness, with these numbers soaring up to 60 percent for individuals who identified as Black, Hispanic, transgender, or gender non-conforming. Over 20 percent of respondents also reported that they had been denied a promotion, not hired, or been forced to resign from a job due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. To address these diverse and varied challenges, we partner with and distribute food to community-based organizations that not only feed our LGBTQ+ neighbors, but work to provide them with free legal services, educational opportunities, healthcare enrollment assistance, and nutrition workshops. One such organization is Make the Road New York, a Food Bank member agency that serves immigrant, working-class, and transgender communities throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Make the Road doesn’t shy away from difference; on the contrary, the group finds power in bringing together New Yorkers from all different walks of life to advocate for collective change. To learn more about the group’s unique approach to service, we spoke with Mateo Guerrero-Tabares, the Trans Justice and Leadership Program Manager at Make the Road New York. Mateo pictured at Make the Road New York’s office in Queens. Photo credit: Feeding America. Mateo found his way to Make the Road in 2010 after arriving in New York City as an undocumented minor. He began his journey as both a client and volunteer, receiving aid from the organization to adjust his immigration status and stay permanently in the United States. Make the Road quickly became a “political home” for Mateo and was one of the first public spaces in which he felt comfortable embracing his identity as a transgender man. As he told us: “It was very special to be able to say, ‘Mateo, he/they pronouns’ and be uplifted and cared for in such a beautiful way.” Volunteers working the weekly food distribution at Make the Road New York. Photo credit: Feeding America. Now, in his role as the organization’s Trans Justice and Leadership Program Manager, he’s working to bring that same level of solidarity and support to the immigrant and transgender New Yorkers he serves, especially when it comes to providing them with reliable access to fresh, nutritious food. In fact, Mateo started a special “bike brigade” at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver groceries to nearly 400 families a week. It was a way to sustain the sense of togetherness that has long fueled Make the Road’s mission to build a more equitable future for New York City’s most marginalized residents. “I want our members to be able to define what it means to exist in New York — and not just survive — but have a dignified life,” he said. “That sense of pride comes from a place of resiliency and community.” Mateo pictured at Make the Road New York’s office in Queens. Photo credit: Feeding America. We couldn’t be prouder to partner with and provide food to organizations like Make the Road New York that put our LGBTQ+ neighbors first. For more on how we serve these New Yorkers now and throughout the year, click this link. You can also donate directly to our Pride Month fundraising campaign to help raise crucial funds for organizations just like Make the Road. Give here. *** A special thanks to Feeding America for partnering with us on a suite of stories featuring LGBTQ-serving agencies in our extensive member network of over 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, and campus partners across the five boroughs. View the stories here.