Imagine this scene: it’s the morning of the last day of the office food drive. You are running late, but you want to make a difference in our community. You make a quick dash to your kitchen pantry and push aside last weekend’s grocery shopping haul. You grab the dusty can of green beans soaked in salt. You juggle around a few more items and find a smooshed box of angel hair pasta.
Finally, you spot the huge plastic bag packed with your little one’s Halloween candy from last October. Now you can rush out the door knowing you will make your donation, while also getting rid of a few items that needed to go. Maybe this sounds a little familiar.
At Sheboygan County Food Bank (SCFB), we rely on food donations from both local food businesses and individuals.
We accept and safely store food locally at our 10,000-square foot warehouse. We then deliver food to partner agencies, like food pantries, at no cost, so that food can get into the hands of our neighbors that need it most. Recently, SCFB implemented a healthy food policy where we view “healthy” as providing higher quality foods through more fresh, high nutritional value, better-ingredient foods. We also focus on removing certain high-sugar items, such as candy. Unfortunately, we don’t have staff, volunteers or time to check expiration dates. But as community members, we can control the quality of items flowing into our local food bank with just a little planning. What if everybody shifted from the “clean out the pantry” mindset and added thoughtful selections to Saturday’s grocery list?
This shift would help us avoid expired food and provide healthier options to more than 3,000 families in Sheboygan County. In fact, a decade ago, I was one of those families. Back in the summer of 2002, I could be found doing normal 11-year old things, such as climbing the Vollrath Park equipment or splashing in Lake Michigan’s frigid water at North Beach. Behind this child-adventurer disguise, I was also recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Ten years ago, I was still a child by age, living with my single mother when she lost her job in the recession. My mom continued to be the superhero I will always know her as during that hardship. She attended a food pantry so that we could have food to eat and to free up money to pay other bills. With my special dietary needs, the quality of food that I eat directly affects the way I feel.
I know first-hand the importance of having healthy, higher quality foods, especially during hard times.
Are you ready to break the mindset and make a healthy impact on our community?
Pencil in peanut butter and canned fruit in 100 percent juice, or its own juice, to your latest grocery list and “Take a Minute and Meet the Star of Manitowoc Minute” Charlie Berens from 11 a.m. to noon on March 4, at Sheboygan County Food Bank’s warehouse, 3115 N. 21 St. Suite 1, Sheboygan.
Meet the famous Wisconsinite, hang out for an open house to learn more about how we work and make a true impact on our community. For more details, please visit the Sheboygan County Food Bank’s website at // www.sheboygancountyfoodbank.com.
Lauren Smith is the communications and development coordinator at Sheboygan County Food Bank.