The Healing Power of Food

Mediaon October 2nd, 2017Comments Off on The Healing Power of Food

Tim served as an engineer in the U.S. Navy during the final stages of the Vietnam War.  When he returned home to Cincinnati after the war, he started working at a local hardware store.  Two years ago, his wife passed away after a massive heart attack. Lonely and depressed, Tim began to spend evenings after work with his friends, either drinking at a local bar or gambling at the casino. He couldn’t focus on his work and was laid off. Tim struggled to make ends meet. He lost his home and lived in his car for many months.  Malnourished and weak, he approached the Cincinnati VA Medical Center for assistance. He was diagnosed with chronic diabetes and serious heart issues. The doctors told him he will need to eat healthy foods and build up his strength. Desperate to find nourishing food, Tim came to the Freestore Foodbank where he was able to get fresh fruits and vegetables from the Liberty Street Market. He became a regular visitor and the fresh produce helped him get his diabetes under control.

Over 40 million people in the United States struggle with hunger. Of these, approximately 13 million are children. One in six Americans is food insecure, which means they do not know where their next meal will come from. In other words, they do not have consistent access to healthy and nutritious food to maintain an active and productive life. Many people are malnourished because they do not have sustained access to nourishing foods.  Others binge when food is available to make up for times when it is not. All of these habits result in serious health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. More than half the households served by the Feeding America network have at least one family member who suffers from high blood pressure and one third have at least one member with diabetes. One of the most important ways to address food insecurity and associated health challenges i creates is through local food banks and food pantries. Feeding America provides more than two billion pounds of fresh produce, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains to families across the United States through their food banks.

Food banks in the Feeding America network, deliver an average of over two million pounds of fresh produce every week. Partnerships with growers and industry experts help secure bulk shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables including potatoes, onion, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and oranges. Food banks transfer these bulk shipments into manageably sized packages similar to those found in grocery stores for distribution. Grocery chains and farmers from all over the country donate to the Feeding America network. These donations are shipped to food banks across the nation using transportation subsidies provided by many corporate partners. At  Feeding America’s inaugural Produce Summit last year, leaders set an aggressive goal to more than double the amount of fresh produces growers supply food banks.

The Freestore Foodbank is part of the Feeding America network and we work diligently to procure fresh produce, either through donations, purchase or through federal programs to supply our neighbors in the tristate region with healthy and nutritious food throughout the year.