Food is and always has been the great connector. It is that which when placed between us brings us closer together and fosters community.
But up until a few years ago, the Food Bank Coalition’s distributions of fresh produce and shelf-stable product prevented those without access to a kitchen or shelter from having a way to utilize this nutrition.
That’s when a collaborative idea sprung up between the Food Bank Coalition, Janna Nichols and her team at Five Cities Homeless Coalition. Together we re-imagined food that could be distributed which did not require storage, refrigeration, or cooking.
What came to be called No-Cook Bags are essentially about four meals and two snacks worth of food which can be used by people without shelter.
With their intended user in mind, these bags contain cans with pull top lids that hold protein, and plastic jars of peanut butter, and other meal items, snacks, and hydration.
The expansion in the popularity of No-Cook Bags shows that they have proven to be one effective way to connect those who are homeless with next level services that can promote health. And for agencies that deal directly with the homeless these no-cook food distributions have served as an invitation for those without shelter to explore the idea of accessing different resources.
» Read more about: Opportunities For Those Without Shelter Increase With Delivery Of No-Cook Bags »
Executive Director Janna Nichols of the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition is one of the visionaries of the No-Cook Bags that we are able to offer to agencies who serve those without shelter.
Janna works every day with clients who are disadvantaged and sees how No-Cook Bags have become one of the most innovative and effective ways to engage clients at her agency. “No-Cook Bags,” she said, “have become a vehicle for us to have life changing conversations.”
Janna reached out to us in 2017, to describe the need and scope of an issue that had become critical. Our standard distributions provided food that had to be stored, kept cold, and prepped on a stove. Although made with the best intentions, these distributions excluded clients who did not have shelter or who otherwise lacked access to a kitchen. Our staff studied in-house resources that could be directed to this effort and secured funding for a pilot program.
Their effectiveness and utility were soon apparent and the No-Cook Bag program has quickly expanded to serve all of San Luis Obispo County.
Volunteers prepare bags at our warehouse that include purchased food and grocery rescue items such as canned protein with pull top lids. Peanut butter and other proteins are frequently included, along with additional snacks and hydration. A No-Cook Bag provides on average, four meals and two snacks, enough food for about a day and a half.
» Read more about: No-Cook Bags – Connecting People Without Shelter to Life Changing Resources »
There is a lot one can do to lower your risk of heart disease. There are many factors that contribute to getting heart disease – some we can control and some we can’t. Learning about the factors that can reduce the risk and taking action will not only improve your health but will also make you feel better in general and ward you from other chronic diseases we as humans are prone to. Factors that we cannot control, or change are age, gender, family history or genetics, and race or ethnicity. Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce your odds of getting heart disease.
Taking these 8 measures will protect your heart and health. They will greatly reduce the odds of getting a heart disease or any other chronic disease that comes along with a poor lifestyle.
- Eat more whole foods: Adopt a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated fats, high sodium foods, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and highly processed foods. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helps in increased intake of fiber which is known to reduce the occurrence of heart disease. Adding oily fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fats like the salmon, can also help in improving heart health.
- Improve cholesterol levels: High cholesterol levels increase the risk of clogged arteries thereby increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 130 mg/dL and HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be at least 50 mg/dL for women and 40 mg/dL for men. Diet and exercise play an important role in helping manage cholesterol levels.
» Read more about: 8 Ways To Prevent Heart Disease »