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Posted by Joan Salge Blake November 22, 2013 12:05 PM
Last week, I trekked my 25 Boston University (BU) Community Nutrition students over to Boston Medical Center (BMC) for the annual class pilgrimage to visit their very busy food pantry. The students deposited their food donations on an old cart outside the pantry, and then we all attempted to squeeze in to a tiny food pantry, about half the size of their classroom. As I glanced around the pantry, I noticed something missing from the shelves…..food. The shelves are almost bare. The food pantry was pantry without food. While I had bought two bags of food to donate, I wished I had toted a third.
Latchman Hiralall, Food Pantry Manager, passionately explained to us that “the pantry was designed to provide healthy foods to 500 individuals monthly but averages over 7,000 users per month.” During the holidays, this number typically exceeds 8,000 a month. Hence, the shelves were bare. Latchman explained that he would have to make an additional call to the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), which is their No. 1 food supplier, to restock the shelves.
GBFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. Last year, they distributed 48 million pounds of food, enough to provide healthy meals to as many as 545,000 people. The GBFB acquires food through food industry product donations, food drives, and financial contributions that enable them to purchase additional high nutrient quality food at wholesale prices.
So here is my waist-trimming Thanksgiving strategy: Since a typical Thanksgiving dinner serves up thousands of calories, consider making less turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pies to fill your stomach, and donate the money saved to help those whose Thanksgiving isn’t so bountiful. Instead of buying a 20-pound turkey at $1.00 a pound, lug home a 15-pound bird and donate the $5 difference. Forgo either the sweet potato casserole or mashed potatoes (how many spuds do you really need at one meal??) and donate the cost savings. Is a pumpkin pie, apple pie, and the pie your aunt brings every year, really necessary? Drop one from the menu and save about $10. All total, you will not only remove hundreds of tempting calories from your dinner and waist but your feel good gesture will also brighter somebody else’s holiday.
Click here to donate your savings to the BMC Food Pantry or here to give it to the GBFB. I promise you will feel lighter and happier on Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving! Joan
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Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
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