Thursday, April 21, 2011

Capital Area Food Bank Challenge - Week One

Capital Area Food Bank Challenge - Week One 

For the month of May, I, along with other Austin food bloggers, am participating in a recipe challenge that is a combined effort from the Capital Area Food Bank and the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance. On Wednesday night, I visited the Capital Area Food Bank to learn more about the challenge, the Capital Area Food Bank organization, watched a CHOICES cooking demonstration as well as toured the warehouse. The information was eye-opening and I realized that they run a tight ship around there to make sure as many as people as possible are fed in Central Texas. They even use tips from UPS to make sure their trucks are as efficient as possible during the packing process as well as conserve fuel when making deliveries. 

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), a federally funded and state managed program, helps low-income residents buy the food they need to keep their bodies healthy. Most families are working families, some with children, some without. Many are elderly and disabled residents as well as some single residents. SNAP benefits are provided on LoneStar card that is similar to a debit card (not cash) to buy food at many grocery stores, convenience stores and farmers' markets. 

Capital Area Food Bank's Hunger Map

For this challenge I plan to focus on kid-friendly, vegetable and whole grain based snacks that do not require cooking or could be used in the Kids in the Kitchen series offered by the Capital Area Food Bank's CHOICES Nutrition Education Program. Cooking classes are offered at various Title 1 schools, recreation centers and community centers in all 21 counties covered by the Capital Area Food Bank. I also plan to contribute a few gluten and dairy free snacks and breakfasts that we also eat at home with ingredients that can be found at most food pantries.

I will include information about the SNAP program with each recipe. I welcome comments at the bottom of this post with thoughts on this issue as well as your own healthy and kid-friendly no-cook or limited tools necessary recipes. Capital Area Food Bank plans to feature the recipes in their CHOICES Nutrition Education Program for children and adults and credit will be given to the recipe author.

For more information about the SNAP Program, I suggest taking a look at the infographic prepared by Capital Area Food Bank to get a snapshot of program and why it is important to educate all citizens on its benefits for not only the participants, but also the farmers' and local businesses that see increased economic activity when participants shop locally. 

Please consider making a monetary donation to Capital Area Food Bank or donate your nutrient dense home grown herbs, veggies and fruit, canned goods, nuts, berries or even spices to add flavor to recipes.  

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