I went grocery shopping recently and when I came home had to figure out where to put everything I had bought. All of the fresh produce had to fit in the fridge, along with the yogurt, cheese, milk, and other cold foods. The freezer had to be rearranged to hold the chicken, frozen veggies, and such. All of the canned and boxed food had to be organized in my pantry. I have a small kitchen with limited storage space and I have to think ahead when shopping about where to put everything when I get home.
While I was putting everything away I was thinking about our new home at The Pantry. It is sort of like my small kitchen. We have less space now than we used to, by almost 7,000 square feet, so our focus on having healthier items for our neighbors just got even more important. If we have even less room on our shelves and in our warehouse, we have to make sure that what we do keep on hand is the most nutritious options for those who will be coming to receive it.
The connection between health and poverty has been studied and it is clear, those with less financial resources are more likely to see health challenges because of it. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 21% of people with incomes at or below the poverty level had fair or poor health compared to just 4% of those with incomes 400% of the poverty level (CDC, 2016). The CDC also found that limited access to affordable, nutritious foods increases the likelihood of obesity (CDC, 2016).
We have an opportunity to have a positive impact in the life and improve the health of those we serve by ensuring that the food they have access to at The Pantry is of high nutritious quality, with as much fresh produce as possible for each person who shops. This means our Neighbor’s Choice Pantry will still have fresh produce available, and thanks to an anonymous donor we have even more cooler space to shop from, helping us stock more fresh produce up front. This also means having a variety of produce available to purchase at low-cost through our Fresh Market, right in the front of the store where everyone can see it. Neighbors do not have to shop in the Neighbor’s Choice Pantry to purchase from the Fresh Market. It is open to anyone whose income is 300% or below of the poverty level.
We want to be part of a positive change in our community. Our goal is to feed mind, body, and soul. In doing that, we recognize that not all calories are equal, and we will strive to provide the most nourishing food and educational opportunities to live up to that goal. 3 John 1:2 says “Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” This we pray for our neighbors as we work to ensure it is possible for them, through our actions at The Pantry.
In order to make this healthy transformation possible, we would love it if five donors purchased CSA shares for us to distribute through the upcoming growing season. Green Wagon Farm shares will be for sale soon, and you can purchase a share to donate to neighbors in need at The Pantry, increasing their access to healthy, locally grown produce in our Neighbor’s Choice Pantry. Learn more about purchasing a share, or sharing a share at http://thepantry.gr/donate/
Yours in service,
Centers for Disease Control. (2016). Health, United States, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf#glance