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.
When you think of the San Antonio Food Bank, canned goods may be the first thing that come to mind. But our mission to “Fight Hunger and Feed Hope” isn’t just about handing out canned goods. Ours is a holistic attempt to eradicate, educate and empower. Our Nutrition, Health and Wellness division is on a mission to educate people about the importance of eating healthy. Sarah Koontz, a registered dietician with the San Antonio Food Bank, shares tips in this week’s blog to cook healthy to prevent cancer.
We often hear about how some lifestyle changes can help prevent our risk of cancer, even including or avoiding certain foods. Did you know there are simple actions you can take in the kitchen to decrease your risk of cancer? Here are four ways you can tweak your cooking methods to get the most out of healthy meals!
Bring out the inner lycopene with heat: Tomatoes, along with guava, pink and red grapefruit and some other red-colored fruits and vegetables, are rich in the healthy cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. Cooking tomatoes for a few minutes releases a form of lycopene that is more easily absorbed by our cells than the lycopene found in raw tomatoes. Adding a little bit of olive oil to your cooked tomatoes can increase the amount of lycopene absorbed even more. Some additional powerhouses of lycopene include: watermelon, asparagus, chili powder, and red cabbage.
Garlic: Chop and rest: Chopping garlic enhances its health-promoting phytochemical, allicin, which is responsible for garlic’s distinct pungency and taste. When garlic is whole, alliin, the compound from which allicin is formed, is separated from the enzyme alliinase that helps create it. Cutting garlic allows them to mingle and form allicin. You can chop, slice, mince or press. Heat destroys alliinase so in order to get the most allicin, let crushed garlic stand for about 10-15 minutes before adding it to a hot pan.
A bit of fat for fat-soluble vitamins: Our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins with a touch of fat. Cooking and preparing green, red, orange and yellow vegetables with olive oil or other healthy fats found in avocado and nuts helps to increase the absorption of beta-carotene and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, and K. Most meals will already contain some fat. But next time you make a salad, sprinkle a little olive oil and a small portion of your favorite nuts for more flavor and healthy added crunch.
Add zest to up iron: Green leafy vegetables, beans and other plant foods contain relatively large amounts of a form of iron called non-heme iron, in contrast to the heme iron found in meats. But non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed as heme. Adding lemon or other foods high in vitamin C to vegetables can help increase the amount of iron absorbed. Drinking orange juice after eating a vegetable-filled meal can also help increase iron absorption.
Source: AICR, March 2013.
Interested in re-vamping your health, including your eating habits? Contact us today for more information about our public nutrition education classes offered free to the community. You can click HERE or call us at (210) 431-8351. Start getting healthy today!
Every four years the San Antonio Food Bank, in conjunction with Feeding America and food banks across the country, conducts a survey of agencies and clients called Hunger in America which is the largest study of charitable food assistance in the country. Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that works to end hunger and is the primary sponsor of the study. The San Antonio Food Bank is currently looking for volunteers to help conduct the study.
Volunteers will assist in collecting information from clients being served. The information gathered will help Feeding America and food banks better understand agencies’ work to provide services as well as provide valuable data that can be used for advocacy with our elected officials at every level of government.
The study will be conducted from mid-April through August, with locations throughout the 16-county region we serve. A mandatory volunteer training for conducting the surveys will be provided.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Hunger in America study, go HERE to register as a volunteer. Please contact Stephanie Smith at (210)431-8308 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the study or volunteering.
Example of 2010 Findings
76 percent (10 million) of client households served are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where they will find their next meal.
36 percent of these client households are experiencing food insecurity with hunger, meaning they are sometimes completely without a source of food.
79 percent (11 million) of households with children served are also food insecure.
The 2013 season of the Farmers’ Market was kicked off this March – National Nutrition Month. In conjunction with the Main Plaza Conservancy and the City of San Antonio, the Farmers’ Market, now in its third year, opened on a beautiful, sunny San Antonio day. Councilman Diego Bernal and some of his staffers joined San Antonio Food Bank President/CEO, Eric Cooper and Main Plaza Conservancy Executive Director, Jane Pauley-Flores, to welcome downtowners.
Finding fresh fruits and vegetables in downtown San Antonio can be difficult. Residents, tourists and employees can easily find nutritious, healthy and affordable food while enjoying the scene at the Main Plaza. The Farmers’ Market was created to provide healthy options, promote the consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, and support local farmers and businesses. In general, buying fresh produce is healthier and often more cost-efficient. It’s also a great opportunity to save gas and a trip to the grocery store.
Catalyst Catering, the social enterprise of the San Antonio Food Bank, offers healthy meals at an affordable price. All monies generated by Catalyst Catering help to underwrite the Food Bank’s free culinary training program which addresses hunger by providing the homeless, individuals with disabilities, and unemployed adults with the job skills they need to achieve self-sufficiency.
The Farmers’ Market is hosted every Tuesday from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. The second Tuesday of each month features a special presentation with a cooking demonstration or educational session.
Make every month, a healthy month, by visiting your Main Plaza Farmers’ Market now through December. Click here for a schedule of events.
* Make sure to visit an ATM before heading out: cash, checks and EBT Lonestar cards are accepted by most vendors. Catalyst Catering accepts credit cards.