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What's Fresh?

Nutrition - The Best Gift of All!

Fresh fruit - the perfect gift!
Published on December 16, 2009 : 2 comments

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Ahhhh…the holidays!

As a child, I cherished this time of year and longed for Santa Claus, candy canes, and new toys.

But I’m all grown up now (okay, that’s debatable), and I’ve come to view the holiday months more as a time for reflecting on all that is good in my own life and finding ways that I can improve the lives of others.

As the “What’s Fresh” columnist, it seems appropriate that my favorite gift to give is…FOOD! No need for a holiday…if you stop by my house any time of year, chances are you will:

A) be fed something,
B) be sent home with something to eat, or
C) all of the above!
 

Unfortunately, edible gift giving during the holidays is generally synonymous with junk food. And, you guessed it…I’m not a fan!

Fortunately for all of you, I have worked tirelessly to locate a means by which we can give the gift of nutritious food this holiday season!

As you may be aware, Food Bank for the Heartland provides free food to those in need. They provide many different types of programs, such as:

But there’s a particular program they started in August of 2008 that really caught my eye…

The “Fresh Truck”

Food Bank for the Heartland developed a seasonal program that brings fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved neighborhoods where these items are scarce and/or unaffordable.

Fresh Truck delivers produce to under-served neighborhoodFresh Truck delivers produce to under-served neighborhoodIn a “tricked out” van (like an ice cream truck, but better!), the Fresh Truck makes its way around the Omaha and Council Bluffs metro area on Tuesdays through Thursdays during the spring, summer and fall months, delivering free produce to those in need.

Anyone who approaches the Fresh Truck at one of its stops receives a fresh piece of fruit and, when available, some fresh veggies to take home for dinner, too!

And, yes, the truck plays music - but not just any music, various food-themed songs like Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry” and Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” (of course!).

Donations Needed

I know what you’re thinking…

Great Christy, but what does this have to do with me… in the middle of December, no less?”

Well…as with any of its programs, Food Bank for the Heartland depends on donations from people like us. In its first two years of operation, the Fresh Truck has distributed 50,164 pieces of fruit and 49,267 pounds of additional produce!

All of this fresh food has to come from somewhere! What do you think… food just grows on trees or something!?!

And it is the holiday season, after all! Could there be a better time to give to others?

The Food Bank accepts your donations in a variety of ways:

Child enjoys banana delivered by Food Bank's Fresh TruckChild enjoys banana delivered by Food Bank’s Fresh Truck

  • Are you involved with a community garden?
    The Food Bank picks up fresh produce directly from community gardens! Give them a call today, and find out how to make pick-up arrangements for the upcoming season.
  • Are you involved with a farmers market?
    The Food Bank will come to you there, as well! Give them a call for details.
  • Growing your own produce at home and want to contribute?
    You are welcome to drop off your excess produce this season at the Food Bank’s warehouse, located at 6824 J Street, Monday – Friday between 7:30am and 4:00pm. (The Food Bank does not currently pick up from individuals.)
  • No green thumb?
    You’re in luck! The Food Bank also accepts monetary donations (you can even use Pay Pal online!). Every dollar donated to the Fresh Truck provides 5 fresh fruit snacks to those in need! Click here to make a donation now!  What a great way to give the gift of nutrition for the holidays!
  • Want to help but are unable to donate food or funds at this time?
    Why not give your time, instead? The Food Bank is always in need of an extra pair of hands. Click here for volunteer information, and start lending a helping hand today!

If you have any questions, want more info or wish to coordinate your fresh food donations for the upcoming season, please contact Nancy Lee at 331-1213 or NLee [at] foodbankheartland [dot] org.

The Wrap Up (pun intended)

I encourage you to take some time this holiday season to think about how you can help those in need. Many people get overwhelmed and stressed out from the holiday hustle and bustle. What better way to relax than to stop and think about others who are less fortunate – and to do something about it?!

Without donations, the Food Bank can’t accomplish all that it does. Every little bit helps, so don’t let feelings of “can I really make a difference?” stand in your way.

And, remember, often when we give to others, we end up receiving the greatest gift of all – the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve done a wonderful thing!

Of course donations to the Food Bank are just one way of giving this holiday season. Do you have other suggestions for giving to those in need this time of year??

We’d love to hear your ideas or personal stories! Just leave a comment below…

cpooschkeChristy authors the "What's Fresh?" column on Omaha.net. She is a local "foodie" and owner/operator of GroceryGeek.com - Check out her natural cookbook, grocery shopping guide, diet make-over services, and personal chef services on her site! She also oper

Comments

mpartyka says:

December 19, 2009 : 4 years 40 weeks ago

mpartyka's picture

WOW - this is great. I had no idea we had options (other than the farmer’s market and Whole Foods).

Being a vegetarian who focuses on getting my nutrition from food (rather than vitamin tablets) I’m always looking for good sources.

I have grown tomato’s on my deck for years, I enjoy a vegetable garden on my deck, away from the rabbits and it’s super easy to remember to water/prune. I have tried Cucumbers, peas and a few others pot friendly varieties.

cpooschke says:

December 19, 2009 : 4 years 40 weeks ago

cpooschke's picture

Stay tuned, Mari - I have many stories up my sleeve!! :)

You should check out ChooseRealFoods.org, too. I have local farmers, health food retailers, etc. listed under the “Nebraska Resources” tab on that site that you might find of interest!

Gardening IS a blast!! The hubby and I started a huge garden last summer using the “Square-Foot Garden” techniques!! It was sooooooo rewarding, money-saving and delicious!!!!

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