Compared to large metropolitan areas, our Food Bank is considered small do to the size of our county. This results in many staff members wearing multiple hats, not allowing us to have paid staff in some of the positions that would provide professional expertise in areas of great need. For example, we don’t have a nutritionist on staff to lead our nutrition outreach. This person would champion our effort not only to provide healthy food, but also administer a county-wide program on nutrition education that is tailored to the foods we distribute to them.
It’s one thing to provide healthy food, and another to educate and inspire people who may not have a palate or be familiar to food items that are good for them. That’s why we are so pleased to be collaborating with the Department of County Health. Through this partnership we will provide nutrition education through cooking demonstrations and tastings at our county-wide distribution sites. The food utilized in these demonstrations will be paired monthly with what the Food Bank has available for distribution.
Public Health educators will be doing onsite education using the produce that is being distributed that day! Take broccoli for example. While people are waiting in line, they will have an opportunity:
- Share their personal experiences with broccoli
- Learn about the nutritional benefits of broccoli,
- Learn tips on buying and storing broccoli, and
- Discuss ideas on how broccoli can be increased in meal planning on a regular basis.
This is a great example of how in our relatively small county, collaboration, can accomplish even greater things than we could independently. It’s not a bad model for larger counties and the whole country. What do you think?