Posts Tagged ‘staple food’

The question box: how do we get the food we give out?

September 18, 2012

This is number two in a blog series around the question box we put up at the food hamper program. A few months ago, we put up a question box in our lobby so people could ask questions about the program that they were maybe hesitant to come up and ask the staff. Last time, we answered the question “why do you give out expired food?” Today I’ll be answering another question: “how do you get this much food?”

The question box in our lobby

The answer is simple: we are able to distribute as much food as we do because of the generous donations we receive from businesses and organizations in and outside Waterloo Region. We are also fortunate to have space and equipment to unload and store food safely. (more…)

Home Economics 101: Waterloo Edition – What does a healthy diet cost?

February 3, 2012

It’s no surprise how quickly a grocery bill can add up throughout the month after you buy fresh produce, school snacks, meat, milk, and all the other foods you need. But do you have any idea how much money someone typically spends to feed the average family in Waterloo Region a healthy diet? … Give up? Well keep reading and you’ll find out!

Back in September The Region of Waterloo released their annual “Cost of the Nutritious Food Basket” report, which provides an estimate on the overall cost for a household to eat a healthy diet. The estimates of this report are based on average food prices from various grocery stores throughout the community, based on the dietary recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide for specific ages and genders, the number of people in the household and reflective on eating patterns of the community. (more…)

Can you ever have too much rice?

November 7, 2011

Feed a dream

Before we know it the sky will fill with lovely snow flakes and the days will become colder here in Ontario. While there are many opportunities to get outside in the winter and stay fit, many people tend to spend a little more time indoors.  So what can you do, while your inside, staying warm and counting the days until it’s spring time?

Well I’m here to tell you about a fun and educational way to spend some of your spare time – especially if your household includes some school age children who want to test and expand their knowledge. To see what I’m talking about, click here.  It’s an online game with a twist.  Instead of getting points and being able to boast about your high score, each correct answer makes a little difference to someone somewhere in the world, ten grains of rice at a time.

Isn’t this great? For each correct answer you make to questions in a wide variety of subjects a little bit of rice will be donated to the World Food Program. It may seem like such a small amount but it all adds up and it’s free!  This is all thanks to the group who created FreeRice, a non-profit website now run by the United Nations World Food Programme.

But how can a non-profit website buy enough rice to donate 10 grains for each question you answer right? All the rice that you win through the game is paid for by sponsors whose advertisement banners will appear at the bottom of the screen when you enter a question correctly. Each of these sponsors also supports the goals of promoting learning or free education for everyone, and reducing hunger throughout the world.

FreeRice tries to provide more rice to countries that typically include this as a staple item in their diet. On average these countries typically receive approximately 400 grams of rice person, per day (for families, including children and adults). Generally the goal of each donation is to provide people with two meals, with the assumption they’ll also include other local ingredients, in the aim to achieve 2100 kilocalories of daily nutrition. 

By answering 600 questions correctly you donate one serving (according to Canada’s Food Guide) of a ½ cup of rice to someone in need. Although it seems like a lot of questions, you’ll rack of the number of grains you donate quickly!

If you are a part of a service club, or church, or have a circle of friends who like to do things together, you can all register as a group and compete with other groups and track the total amount of donations you have generated.

“Making the world a better place starts with food. Food fuels education. Food fuels free choice. Food fuels economic independence. Food fuels peace.” (Source)

So by playing the game you are helping do something about hunger in the world, but what about hunger in our community?  Currently rice is the fourth most needed food donation at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. So please consider spending a few minutes to answer a couple of questions and the next time you are at the grocery store think of your neighbours in need and make a donation to the bin by the check out. (Click here to read one of our previous blog posts on what our patrons think about rice).

And in the end think of all the people who will be able to enjoy a meal or rice because of your efforts to test your knowledge.

You can help NOURISH people in need!

March 30, 2011

Have you seen this product in the news lately? Campbell’s has been making headlines with some new ideas in eating and charitable giving. If you haven’t heard about the new soup I encourage you to nourish your mind by clicking here.  It’s worth the click.  We can wait.

One reason this soup has yet to come to grocery stores is because Campbell’s has focused production of the first 100 000 cans to donate to Food Banks Canada. Then following this generosity Campbell’s is planning to follow-up with a donation towards disaster relief efforts in Haiti.

But why is this new soup such a big deal? Well not only does their pop-top designs make it easy for anyone (in any place) to open the can, but it’s nutritious! Each 425 gram can provides a complete meal with a full serving of protein, vegetables, and grains, based on recommendations by Canada’s Food Guide,. Two other benefits of this soup are that it can be eaten hot or cold, and doesn’t require any addition of water before enjoying.  This is a major plus if you’re on the street, just had your hydro shut off or living in a disaster area with no fresh water.

Could it get any better?  Yes! Although Campbell’s has already committed to donating 100 000 cans to Food Banks Canada, they are willing to do more. However Campbell’s is looking for your support to do that! There are two ways you can show your support to accomplish this:

  • Visit their Facebook page. On there if you post a comment; like the page or video posted; watch the 2 minute video; or share the video on your own facebook page then Campbell’s will reciprocate by donating one can to Food Banks Canada.
  • Post a comment on Twitter (hashtag #Nourish) for Campbell’s to donate a can.

Campbell’s is hoping the community responds so they can donate another 100 000 cans before Hunger Awareness Day on May 31, 2011. We’re hoping that you can take a few minutes to help them reach this goal. Soup is shelf-stable food item that many food banks rely on to distribute in their food hampers. Although it’s not on the Food Bank’s top ten most needed food items, it’s still an important item to continually donate.

Have you taken a second to click and share a can of soup with a neighbour in need?

Rotten egg award

March 25, 2011

In the last part of our three part series, today, I will talk about April, the ignoble winner of the (now) infamous Rotten Egg Award for 2010.

Unfortunately April is a bad time for our food hampers to fall below the overall averages because April is a tricky time of the year for many patrons. At this time many patrons are trying to catch up on debts that they have accumulated over the holidays or during periods of seasonal unemployment before their EI claims were processed. For others the fact that outdoor seasonal employment, such as landscaping or construction, aren’t in full swing yet hits hard because their part-time hours aren’t sufficient to pay all the bills. Also student (summer) placement jobs don’t generally begin until late June, despite the fact that many students are done their university semesters and their OSAP before this. Plus at some point in the month many families and individuals will be looking forward to the idea of eating a big meal and sharing gifts with young children, as a part of celebrating Easter with their families but lack the funds and ability to do so. Clearly there are many different reasons why this is a bad time for food assistance programs to be running short on supplies. But with 2 581 households in need of assistance, how bad were things? (more…)

Golden Egg Award

March 24, 2011

If you’ve already read Matt’s post you’ll understand what this award is for, otherwise click here. I’m here to shine the spotlight on the month where we were able to provide the best nutritional hampers overall in 2010 November! (more…)

In praise of Potatoes!

February 18, 2011

Potatoes are one of the things on everyone’s mind at House of Friendship right now, since we’re in the midst of our annual Potato Blitz. During the various events throughout February House of Friendship hopes to collect enough potatoes or financial contributions to meet the needs of our various programs throughout the year.

So far Allison has covered some of the blitz events and how many potatoes they have collected,  but you may wonder, why are potatoes so important to House of Friendship?  The answer is simple: they are a chance for us to talk to someone about their neighbours who are less fortunate than they are.  Even if it is only for the short period of time it takes them to hand us a 10lb bag of delicious Yukon Gold potatoes, they have been able to put themselves in an other’s shoes, and find a way to help them. (more…)

We’re more than just canned foods

October 13, 2010

“Today I had my first food bank experience. I can’t remember ever being through anything more humiliating.”

So begins a personal essay, published in 2006 in Briarpatch magazine.   In it, the author details their first visit to a food program and their frustrated expectations, hopes and forced adjustment to less than ideal circumstances.  You can read it by clicking here.

The author concludes their essay by commenting, “How would I ever feed my family if this was all I had to live on?”

The author of the Briar Patch article raises some important points throughout to reflect on, but this question is what we ask ourselves each day when we take stock of what is in our warehouse. (more…)

Where we go from here…

October 5, 2010

In a previous post, I provided information about the hamper audit, and statistics from the 2009 hampers – but how does that translate into our hampers each day and where do we go from here? First here’s a reminder of the 2009 overall averages for each food category and family size:

Grains Dairy Vegetables and Fruit Meat (and alternatives)
One person 5.4 2.3 9.2 5.6
Two people 3.7 2.0 5.8 4.3
Three people 3.8 1.9 6.3 3.1
Four people 3.3 1.8 5.7 2.8
These figures represent the average number of days a hamper in 2009 would last for each family size, based on the upper limit of the number of daily recommended servings for each food group from Canada’s Food Guide values.

Second, we’ll discuss each category in terms of the gaps and challenges we face in reaching our three to five-day goal of food. Then I will give some insight to the ‘tricks of the trade’ in boosting averages when possible and finally, I’ll wrap it all up with some food for thought. (more…)

Profile on Mobility and Delivering Food Assistance

July 20, 2010

For about a year now this father has turned to our program for a little extra food assistance for himself and two teenage sons. Although one son has recently moved out, things aren’t getting any easier for his father. For a number of years he ran his own business,  but eventually maintaining his health began consuming all of his time. He’s had to let go of contracts and clients to find the time and energy for all his hospital visits and medical appointments, while his increasing weight loss leaves him reliant on a walker to help him travel almost any distance. The past few months he’s found himself unable to work at all, doing his best to manage his bills and expenses with his Ontario Works cheques. For the most part it’s been working out well; but as his prescription costs keep rising, money has been getting tight.  It’s a constant struggle to find extra money for transportation to his medical appointments and bus tickets for his sons to get to school. Considering all these factors,  it’s not hard to see why this father needs food assistance.

(more…)