Like many mothers, Santa’s main priority in life is to take care of and provide for her children, which is more difficult for her than most. Santa, a single mom with two children under the age of eight, had dreams of attending college to study computer science but had to change course when her children were both diagnosed with Coffin Lowry syndrome.
She found herself working in the fast food industry to provide for her family but it became too much for her, as a single mom, to handle. Santa found herself unable to work due to the demands of her children’s disorder.
“Now my [full-time] job is to take care of both of them to make sure they are ok.” Santa explains. Each child receives three therapies a week—OT, PT, Speech Therapy—to help them advance. Her hands are full, but raising her boys means the world to her. “They have a short life expectancy. I just want them to have happy lives while I have them,” she says.
In order to help make ends meet Santa relies on the Food Bank to help fill the gap in her monthly groceries. The food they receive, particularly the fruits and vegetables, provide Santa and her boys with much needed nourishment. “We were excited about this month’s distribution because we came home with healthy food like cabbage, potatoes and chicken. I am looking forward to making my boys a stew.”
Santa’s priority will continue to be her children as she works to keep them healthy. Her hope is that once they are well enough and able to attend school that she will be able to enroll in computer science classes and provide more for her family. Santa doesn’t take life for granted and takes each day as it comes; she hopes for the best for her family.
In the meantime, she is grateful for the Food Bank and its partner agencies for the monthly food distributions. She says, “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t count on the Food Bank. I can’t get a job because of the boys. I can’t let my children starve. I’m grateful for the food.”
Since March is National Nutrition Month, the San Antonio Food Bank, along with the Mayor’s Fitness Council is hosting our first Nutrition Summit on March 18th. Based on data released by the San Antonio Metro Health District, the two core nutrition messages we will focus on are to:
• Increase the intake of vegetables and fruit to at least 3 ½ servings per day
• Make water the drink of choice with a minimum of eight 8oz servings per day
In regards to the message of eating more fruits and vegetables, it goes beyond the recommendation to “just eat more”. We all know we should aim to eat more fruits and veggies, but have you ever wondered why and how they actually help to keep our bodies healthy?
While there are various factors including the fact that they’re high in a number of vitamins, minerals and fiber, a lot of their beneficial properties actually come from their unique color!
Take a look at the following information and see for yourself why Eating the Colors of the Rainbow can help you to live a healthful life!
Click HERE to register for:
2014 San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness
Council Nutrition Summit
By Mayor’s Fitness Council
A heart filled tablecloth covers their table, as George shares his tortilla with Carrie at the San Antonio Food Bank’s partner agency St. Vincent de Paul. Nine years ago, an employee with the agency, told Carrie, “I need to introduce you to George—he’s the right guy for you.” Today, Carrie calls George her lifeline.
Many seniors are not as lucky as Carrie to have any lifeline. Many rely on our partner agencies and the Food Bank as their only source of emotional and food support. Carrie (84), on an extremely tight budget, relies on the food she receives from Project HOPE once a month at the senior center.
These groceries help fight hunger and malnutrition for seniors providing them an opportunity to live a healthier and more active life. Project HOPE helps to ensure seniors continue to have a nutritious meal and don’t have to make difficult choices between paying for bills and paying for food.
“My car was stolen, so I don’t always have transportation to get my commodities box. Those are the months I learn to eat smaller portions so my food lasts longer. I’ve learned to eat like a bird,” says Carrie.
Carrie hates having to rely on anyone. With tears in her eyes, she says she is ashamed to live off her income of just $500 per month. “I worked until I was 74; I worked for 32 years at Lackland–I am a proud woman. But I am grateful to have food from the Food Bank and my George.”
George is happy for the food from the Food Bank as well, because it feeds his beloved. While they both have families, they receive no assistance from them and each live on their own.
Attending St. Vincent de Paul is a haven for them surrounded by friends, a meal and each other.
Did you know, through Project HOPE, your San Antonio Food Bank serves over 7,000 senior households each month? Project Hope provides each enrolled senior household a supplemental box of groceries. For seniors with a very low-income, Project HOPE can further assist with a second box of groceries. Seniors 60 years and older may enroll at any one of over 120 locations so they do not have to go too far to enroll or pick-up groceries.
If you or a senior you know needs assistance, please call (210) 431-8336. If you would like to help a senior in need with a food, time or money donation, please click here.
Fighting Hunger…..Feeding Hope!
When we think of hungry tummies, we think of a year round problem. But for many children, the intensity and the frequency with which they experience hunger intensifies during summer months.
With summer around the corner we can’t help but think about the number of children who may spend their summer worrying about how to get enough to eat. “I wish I had a school report due.” “I wish I had a test today.” These are things we think we would never hear a child say, but for many children in our community, a summer without school also means a summer with fewer meals. During a school year, many children receive two meals per day ONLY because of what they eat in school. More than 60% of children in Southwest Texas schools rely on free or reduced-price school lunch programs every day.
Once school is out, many parents struggle to find a way to provide three meals each day on top of finding safe and reliable child care . This means that this summer alone, thousands of children could be without a reliable source of balanced, nutritious meals!
One Summer Food Program family shares their story with us this month. Jenna remembers the days when she stayed at home with her three boys during the summer—Josiah, 13, Andrew, 10, and Alexander, 8. Jenna recalls, “It was a challenge to find something for them to do for free every day, and on top of that provide three healthy meals and snacks for them. Financially, it was overwhelming.” Receiving minimal food stamps each month, the summer months drained her already small food allowance. Today she is employed part-time witha child care program, where she can earn money and ensure her boys receive daily nourishment.
Jenna knows if it weren’t for the summer food program, she would run out of food before next month’s allowance kicked in. “Working here, we feed 120 kids each summer. As a mom, I know what I go through to make sure my kids eat. I can imagine how 120 moms would struggle to feed their kids without the Summer Food Program.” Jenna and her boys agree the healthy meals are something their family can’t do without. Alexander remembers days when he has been hungry, “I don’t like feeling hungry because my tummy hurts and I get headaches.” Jenna says it isn’t just the food that is helpful, the meals, which are prepared by the San Antonio Food Bank Community Kitchen, teach children how to eat healthy and show portion control. “I worry about a lot of things as a single mom, but with the Summer Food Program, I have one less thing to worry about,” says Jenna gratefully.
To help meet the nutritional needs of children during the summer months, the San Antonio Food Bank operates summer feeding programs at 135 locations in Southwest Texas. Last year, these sites provided more than 267,000 healthy meals for the summer to children who would otherwise go without.
The need for volunteers and donations increases tremendously each summer. If you would like to help us make summertime a fun time for kids, reach out to the San Antonio Food Bank today by calling (210) 337-3663.
We’re in the last stretch to buy a chance to win the 2012 Toyota Tundra!
Thanks to a partnership with The Grill at Leon Springs, Cavender Auto Family and Black Jack Speed Shop, the San Antonio Food Bank continues our efforts to raffle away a 2012 Toyota Tundra, featuring a one-of-a-kind design by San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan valued at $50,000. This beauty features custom paint, rims, trim, lift, sound system and Tim Duncan’s autograph–this truck is for the ultimate Spurs fan! Did we mention she was built here in San Antonio at our very own Toyota plant?
Only 5,000 tickets were made available for purchase. Once all tickets have been sold, the San Antonio Food Bank will have raised $250,000. For every $1 we raise, the Food Bank is able to provide 7 meals to our community. That means the Spurs truck will have provided 1.7 million meals to our community!! Can you imagine how many children will be able to eat because of this? With one in four children facing food insecurity in our area, that feeds a lot of tummies!
Join us and help us provide these much-needed meals to our community. We’re almost there! Click below for a message from Eric Cooper, President and CEO for the San Antonio Food Bank.
Click HERE to purchase your ticket or call us at (210) 431-8383. Good luck!
Thank you for helping us to fight hunger and feed hope!!
By: Sarah Koontz, RD (Nutrition Education Coordinator)
For meat, avoid high temperatures: Grilling, broiling or cooking meat at high temperatures produces carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds can damage our DNA and may increase the risk for cancer. For cancer prevention, the best way to prepare meat is to cook at lower temperatures. Next time you cook meat, try roasting in the oven or making a flavorful stew.
Marinate your meats: Some evidence suggests that marinating meat with herbs and spices before grilling may cut down on possible carcinogens. Emerging research suggests that herbs and spices may also play a role in cancer prevention, and oh, what flavor! For example, rosemary contains a phytochemical called carnosol that may inhibit tumor growth. This time of year is also a great time to start an herb garden!
For fruits and vegetables, cook with its skin on: The skin of fruits and vegetables are packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Although you still will get plenty of nutrients and phytochemicals if you peel your vegetables and fruits, the colorful skins are often densely packed with protective compounds, some often only found in the skin. For example, zucchini skin is loaded with lutein, an antioxidant. And if you eat an apple with its skin you’ll get about 75% more quercetin, a major cancer-fighting flavonoid, than a peeled apple.
Don’t waterlog your veggies: Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins C, folate and niacin are just that – they easily dissolve in water. Boiling vegetables for a long time causes these vitamins (as well as some cancer-fighting phytochemicals) to leach into the water, which you will probably pour down the drain. To maximize nutrients, try steaming, oven roasting, or stir-frying. If you want to boil, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and boil for a few minutes only until your veggies are soft and the water evaporates.
Source: AICR, March 2013.