November 24, 2008

A plentiful and healthful Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, our food pantry is serving a record number of clients. And as you may know, food prices have been escalating dramatically. This has also increased the cost of each holiday food bag. Now, the cost increase is less dramatic than the rise in the number of people who are turning to us for help. We’re now paying $28 for a complete holiday meal for a family of four, which is just a two-dollar increase from last year.

But the mere cost of our food bags doesn’t convey something that’s pretty remarkable: we’re also serving much higher quality food.

Gone are the sodium-laden vegetables; gone are the fluorescent orange macaroni and cheese mix; gone are a number of other food items that can contribute to illness and disease. We have found low-sodium stuffing mix, salt-free canned vegetables, enriched white rice, and lots of fresh produce from local farms. This year’s Thanksgiving bags should excite the tastebuds, but won't raise blood pressure or sugar consumption.

To include these more expensive items without breaking the bank, we’ve been working hard to forge partnerships with farmers. We also decided to include a simple gravy recipe in the food bags instead of a pricey can of unhealthy gravy. And we’re certainly buying in bulk. Truckloads of food have been arriving at Bread for the City all month, and our dedicated team of volunteers is helping to pack it all up.

To recap: demand is up, prices are up, and we’re answering the challenge by pushing our quality up. From our new farmer partners to our creative colleagues at the Capital Area Food Bank who are now supplying us with healthier options, to our staff members and volunteers, it is a true community effort. And it’s something we’re very proud of.

Have a wonderful holiday, and thanks for being a part of the Bread for the City community.

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