Have you ever wondered what healthy eating looks like for the 38 million Americans currently facing food insecurity?
In response to SB1383, food recovery and donation programs are in full swing, in an effort to reduce organic waste. As more and more grocery stores, schools, and other food generators scramble to establish their food donation programs, nonprofits gather to secure more resources to feed their communities. Food Finders is addressing food scarcity through programs that go beyond providing a meal for a moment or a day. Through our Nutrition Talks program, we are working directly with food insecure individuals to provide nutritional education and resources to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent further organic waste.
More Than Reducing Hunger
Our Nutrition Talks Program, co-created and led by our Nutrition Education intern, Kelly Alarcon is available to any one of our nonprofit partners, free of cost. Kelly is in her third year at Cal State University Long Beach, studying Nutrition & Dietetics. Kelly has been leading Nutrition Talks since the start of 2022 and agrees that “securing food is crucial but the need does not end there.” Together, Kelly and I have presented our educational program to several nonprofit partners ranging from sober living residentials to affordable housing organizations. It is evident that more can and should be done in the fight to reduce hunger.
Providing individuals who experience food scarcity with tools to better understand their health and eating habits, we have been able to better assess the impact rescued food has on nutrition, lifestyle, and sustainability practices. In addition to education, we offer tips for healthy eating on a budget and have even added a cooking demo component that works to put those healthy habits into practice.
Although our talks aim to highlight the benefits of choosing fruit and vegetables over chips and cookies, many emergency relief boxes and grocery store donations do not offer the kind of fresh and nutritionally dense foods that would be optimal for making better choices. For this reason, our presentations are designed to give our partners and their residents the opportunity to bring their questions and concerns about food donation quality and recovery practices into an open forum for discussion.
Q & As
During one of our Q&As, we received inspiring feedback from a resident of our nonprofit partner, Recovery Community Cares who implored food generators donating to please, “give from your hearts and give a donation of quality and dignity.” We would like to thank our partners who have already donated with this message in mind. Whether it be food, resources, your time, or financial contribution, every bit counts towards reducing hunger and environmental waste. To every partner of ours who has welcomed our Nutrition Talks into their programming, we want to thank you for providing more for your clients.
The Nutrition Talks Program is something that we are very proud of at Food Finders. Part of our mission is to improve nutrition in food insecure communities and this program is one way that we can provide more than just a meal.
For more information on how to become a donor, volunteer, or funder, please visit the following links:
To join our Share Table, please contact our Fund Development Director, Lisa Hoffmaster (562) 283-1400 (Ext. 103)
If you are a Non-profit operating in Southern California and would like to host a Nutritional Talk you must be a registered nonprofit and partner with Food Finders, Inc. For more information please contact Isabel Gallegos, at (562) 283-1400 Ext. 111
Isabel Gallegos, Partner Agency Manager and has worked in the community to help others gain access to rights and tools to reach their highest potential. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Several studies show that nutrition can directly affect the mental capacity of school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can negatively impact cognition. Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn–and learning is the foundation of how children can grow into healthy and productive adults. Because improvements in nutrition help to make students healthier, they are more likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently. When children are not given nutritious meals, studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems in the classroom.
Hunger is not just something we must look at as a social issue. It is an economic one. If we know that children can do better in school when fed nutritious food, perhaps we can see the benefit of these same children growing up to lift themselves up and out of poverty to financial independence. Food is more than just hunger, it is a vehicle to elevate entire communities.
Turning A Bag of Food Into A Meal
Kelly Alarcon, a Cal State Long Beach Nutrition student who interns at Food Finders loves to talk about the importance of having nutritious meals. She helps the Partner Agency Coordinators to receive food from our Food donors and also helps with pack and sorts for the Food 4 Kids program. The above photo was taken from one bag that was being packed up so that it could be delivered to one of the 15 Title 1 Schools in Long Beach.
Kelly asked if she could take a picture and use her nutrition skills to craft some recipes that could help families extend the meals while also providing a nutritious option. Her studies paid off!
Here is the first bag of recipes we would like to share:
Contents and Nutrition
Tuna 5.4 oz. = 2 packs 140 calories, 17g protein, 0.5g fat, 0 carbs Instant oatmeal = 2 packs 320 calories; 8 g protein, 4g fat, 66g carbs Kool Aid Juice Jammer = 1 90 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 24 carbs Canned corn, whole kernel = 2 120 calories; 2g protein, 2g fat, 26g carbs Black beans = 2 cans 350 calories; 24.5 g protein, 0 fat, 63 carbs Granola bar = 1 140 Calories; 3g protein, 4 g fat, 25 carbs Vegetable soup = 1 can 130 calories; 4g protein, 2.5 g fat, 22g carbs Diced tomatoes = 1 can 88 calories; 3.5 g protein, 0g fat, 17.5 g of carbs Canned fruit = 2 cans 230 calories; 0g protein, 0g fat, 59g Boxed mac n cheese = 1 box 875 Calories; 32.5g Fat, 25g protein, 118g carbs
Weekend Meals Recipes
Meal #1: Cheesy Tuna Casserole
Serves 2-3 people
Ingredients To Use: 1- Box mac n cheese 1 – Pack of tuna drained 1 – Can of corn drained
Prepare boxed mac n cheese as directed, setting aside ¼ of the noodles for another recipe, and feel free to use any milk, nut milk or water.
Mix all ingredients and serve.
Meal #2: Black Bean, Tomato and Corn Salad
Ingredients To Use: 1 – Cans of black beans drained 1 – Can of diced tomatoes drained 1 – Can of corn drained
Take all rinsed ingredients and toss in a bowl.
Season as desired
Serve hot or cold
Meal #3: Tuna and Noodle Soup with a Side of Fruit
Ingredients to Use: 1 – Cans of vegetable soup ½ Cup of water 1 – Pack of Tuna Drained 1-Can of fruit Remainder of noodles from boxed Mac n Cheese
Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove mixing and heating
Enjoy with side of fruit from the can
Meal # 4: Oatmeal with Fruit
Ingredients to Use:
2- Packs of Instant Oatmeal
1-can of fruit drained
Prepare instant oatmeal according to package directions
Cut fruit into bite size pieces and top oatmeal with it or eat as a side.
We look forward to more recipes from Kelly. If you do make any of these, please share your photos of the preparation and completed meal! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping Food 4 Kids
Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option. Support from donors helped us to serve over 10,780 meals per week to families.
Long Beach Unified School District reached out to Food Finders in January with a request to restart the program and add 12 High School Student Wellness Centers to the original Title 1 Schools. Supporting this program would mean that together we can serve 21,560 meals per week by delivering over 770 bags of food to families in Long Beach. It is a good start to elevating so many families!
To Help Support the Food 4 Kids Program click here
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.