Fun Fore All to End Childhood Hunger

Think of five children you know. Mine can be two of them, why not.

Of those five children, it’s likely that one of the five is affected by Childhood Hunger (based on a stat that I was given for this post).

Now think about you as an adult. How does it feel when you are hungry? Not so good, right? Likely, you’re able to get yourself something to satisfy that hunger (and if you’re not, head on over to www.pittsburghfoodbank.org to get some assistance – it’s a judge free zone). But that feeling of hunger is not so fun. When I am hungry, I am mean and unstable. I can’t think. I can’t do anything but crave food NOW.

Go back to those kiddos you thought of. If one of them is lacking proper nutrition because their family does not have the resources to feed them, they are likely going to suffer in school, have short and long term health issues, or have behavioral problems.

Hopefully I am  not the only one whose heart gets heavy when they hear this information. Actually, I know I am not. The Kids Campaign to End Hunger (through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) makes sure that kids get enough to eat. They also educate children about how to help, organize fundraisers, and provides volunteer opportunities to raise awareness and support.

That’s where the Fun Fore All comes in. Fun Fore All is a miniature golf event that will be held on Saturday, May 31 at Fun Fore All in Cranberry Township. The cost to participate is $25 per person which includes 18 holes of miniature golf, a swag bag with goodies, lunch, and a Putting an End to Hunger t-shirt. You can enter a foursome, or attend as a single, double, or triple group and be paired up with other awesome ‘Burghers who are there to help with the cause, too.

Greg and I will be there, and we’d love to have you join us, too. Tickets are available for purchase through this link and proceeds from the event will go toward Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Kids Campaign to End Hunger.

Let’s do one ‘lil thing to help in a big way, Pittsburgh. Hearts.

Fun Fore All

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Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank facts from 2012-2013:
  • Distributed 27,014,117 pounds of food and other essential items to low-income individuals and families
  • Completed 186 Produce to People distributions, serving 16 distressed neighborhoods and 198,399 people and distributing nearly 3.7 million pounds of food and non-food products
  • Expanded the Summer Food Service Outreach Program to Somerset and Butler Counties and are continuing outreach in Fayette, Beaver, Lawrence, and Greene Counties, serving nearly 10,000 children
  • Collected 475,040 pounds of food and non-food products, valued at $802,817, through community food drives
  • Harvested 114,903 pounds of produce (that otherwise would have gone to waste) from local farms during 47 gleaning sessions
  • Purchased forklifts, freezers, and other essential equipment to help our member agencies better accommodate the families they serve
  • Engaged 13,333 volunteers (including 4,280 new volunteers) for a total of 70,043 service hours, helping them repackage and distribute food to people in need
  • Increased distribution of healthy produce by more than 900,000 pounds, distributing 5,972,903 pounds
  • Conducted 260 Speaker’s Bureau presentations in the region, reaching 18,694 people

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Disclaimer: I was asked to share the above information as part of a campaign with The Motherhood. That means I was compensated to be a Blogger Ambassador, but all opinions are my own.

Harvest Stew (ala @pghfoodbank)

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Last week while at BlogMob, I got to taste the delicious Harvest Stew (recipe above) that was being demonstrated to patrons. It smelled AMAZING and tasted even better.

On Monday night, we made this for dinner. Yup, I cooked collards and didn’t do a bad job of it.

Since tomorrow is the first day of fall, you should try it, too!

Let’s End Hunger Now: #BlogMob #Hunger

While touring Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (my third tour there in a year), this image made me ask, “Are you with me?”

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And really, I want to know if you are with me. Hunger is a real issue in our nation, and one each and every one of us can help with. Here are some of the things I learned during #BlogMob #Hunger that can help our neighbors.

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Produce to People This is a distribution the Food Bank hosts at not only the Duquesne location but at other local pantries throughout the month. If you know someone who is in need of food, especially fresh produce, let them know about this program. It is not limited to folks who receive food benefits—if there is a genuine need, recipients just need to sign a proclamation of need.

Tote Bags help! Events like Produce to People are what inspired the Tote Bag Project to focus on getting reusable grocery bags into the hands of Food Bank recipients. As I was walking into the Food Bank, I saw many kinds of “bags” to gather the 40 (or so) pounds of food that would be distributed—suitcases, an old potato sack, laundry baskets, rolling shopping bags, pockets, and tote bags. If every patron had a handful of tote bags to help them bring their haul home, it surely would make life easier (just imagine toting 40 pounds of produce on the bus in a typical grocery bag). A sad truth learned, although almost 20,000 tote bags have been donated in this past year, the Food Bank is now out of the tote bags and could use more. Consider hosting a tote bag drive in your workplace, religious center, or even among your neighbors. ‘lil Miss A is asking you to bring some to her birthday party to make a small dent, too.

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Key donation items include peanut butter, tuna, and low-sugar cereal. These are things the Food Bank should never have to run out of, but without the help of donations, this is possible. Sure, the warehouse has a nice stock of peanut butter, but with pantries across several counties, it would be easy to imagine the possibility. Do what you can to help with this—if you have a food drive, consider sending these items or even asking those helping out to focus on these.

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Funding cuts are real issues, too. Money going to food programs is facing serious cuts. There are a few things you can do to help with this. One, when you are asked to give money to the Food Bank, know that it goes a long way. Because the Food Bank orders wholesale, a $1 donation can bring about $4 of buying power. Two, you can sign a paper plate (even virtually, click here!) to send to Governor Corbett a message that you want to help protect the State Food Purchase Program (instead of this falling under a budget cut). While the #BlogMob group toured the Food Bank, participants in Produce to People could write out a message on a paper plate that will be physically delivered to the Governor at the end of Hunger Action Month. We got to fill one out too, and it brought some tears to my eyes.

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It’s not all doom and gloom! Sure, those observations above are sort of scary, but there are good things happening.

  • On Thursday night, each produce distribution station was accompanied by an informative table. For instance, Giant Eagle dietitians were there talking about a plate portions; participants could register to vote; and there were health screenings. This new feature of Produce to People seemed to me like a great idea, and I hope it sticks.
  • The Food Bank nutritionist was on hand to show recipients how to make a healthy Harvest Stew using acorn squash, onions, and collard greens that were distributed that night. I was inspired, learned how to cut an onion without crying (it works), and will be making this meal for dinner tonight!
  • Bought and donated food is marked with a 1, 2, or 3 depending on nutritional value and movement analysis. This helps local pantries with ordering so that they can properly order their distributions.
  • Volunteers are making things happen! You can volunteer by repacking, putting together boxes for Seniors, or carrying food to recipients’ cars. Every little bit helps.
  • Community Table is a new program where chefs are donating extra “plates” of food—they make the extras, so these are not items that have sat out—and a truck comes around and picks up the food, getting it quickly into the hands of those who need it most.
  • Kids. Kids. Kids! They learn so much, those ‘lil sponges! Miss Ivy goes to schools and groups and talks to kids about hunger and how they can help. Her cubicle was covered in inspiring posters children have made…if only we all had the heart of a ‘lil child, this world really would be a better place.

During the night, those of us in attendance learned lots about how we can take action. I hope this has inspired you. If you want to hear more about the night, go visit Emily, Elizabeth, or Lou (he wasn’t able to attend, but was still uber-inspired and interacted in our tweets, LOVE!) to hear more. The Tote Bag Project has also pulled together a great Storify site with our top stories about #BlogMob #Hunger, do read!

Here’s where I NEED you. Comment below—what action are you going to take in this 2nd half of Hunger Action Month? Will you tweet about this post and/or hunger (use the “Tweet” button below!)? Will you organize a food/tote drive? Will you sign up to be a Food Bank volunteer? Leave me some love below, my heart needs to know there are more and more great people in this world.

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The night ended with a few prizes, and we decided to share one of them with our blog readers. If you’d like to enter to win a session with Emily Levenson, a nutritionist, use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably seen these photos; however, take a look at all of my photos from the night over on Flickr.

#BlogMob #Hunger is Coming!

If you are keeping up with the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, you are fully aware that September is Hunger Action Month, a month full of events to make us aware of the impact of hunger.

One of those events, #BlogMob #Hunger will be my favorite. No, it’s not because I am lucky enough to co-host the event with Elizabeth and Emily, two Pittsburgh bloggers (but that’s pretty awesome). No, it’s not because I’ll get to network with other bloggers who share my passion. No, it’s not because I love working with the Tote Bag Project.

It’s because I firmly believe no one deserves to go to bed hungry, and this is a great chance to share with you what can be done about it. Donating to the Food Bank is a great start, but hunger needs advocates, and I’d like to call myself one. Being aware of the issues, observing Produce to the People distribution, and finding things to share with you are going to be the best parts of this event.

Have a blog? Want to come take part in the event? Here are the details about the September 13th event at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. RSVP info is in the image below. 🙂