Posts Tagged ‘Special projects’

2 years and counting…counting food that is!

September 28, 2010

I started working here near the end of February 2008 and began my first project a month later: the hamper audit. The main reason I enjoy this project is because it’s fascinating to track each and every item that is distributed in hampers for families of one to four persons when we open and when we close. Tracking all these items helps us have a comprehensive list of what may have been in a hamper on any given day. This helps us identify and track trends in donations and demand, and better understand what we are distributing each day. But creating these lists is only half the project; the other half involves organizing each item in groups to determine how nutritious our hampers are, based on Canada’s Food Guide values.

For any item to be accepted into one of the food groups it has to meet certain nutritional requirements. Though most items are easy to categorize such as a broccoli florets and yogurt, there are more “difficult” foods that require some evaluation. One example of a “difficult food” is crackers, which the Food Bank has been consistently had available for many weeks now. Crackers are a simple snack and are generally acceptable for anyone to eat, but can be high in sodium. This presents a challenge, as the Food Guide encourages food choices to be low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. As a result I need to read the label to make an educated decision on whether the crackers are a grain serving or an extra since the food guide recommends minimizing sodium in your diet.

Nevertheless I’m not here to give a lesson on nutrition; instead this blog will share some of the 2009 statistics I have collected doing the hamper audit. One thing to note is that these statistics are a result of many wonderful donations, and Raymond’s (our warehouse coordinator) excellent predictions with his quotas. Luckily these factors seem to work well together, as our program has been able to consistently distribute an average of three to five days worth of food in almost all food categories. (more…)