March 29, 2016

Savor the Flavor on a Budget

Author: Guest Blogger

Nutrition blog flavor on a budget

A strong misconception is that eating flavorful and nutritious food will break the bank. That doesn’t have to be true. Below you will find a few tips that can help you savor the flavor of nutritious food, while eating healthy on a budget.

1) Planning is a very important step in eating healthy on a budget. Start planning your meals for the week on a Sunday or Monday. Check local ads for weekly promotions like buy one get one free items. Also look for coupons for your favorite pantry staples. Consider using these items to create a plan or calendar of meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack(s).

2) Buy fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season or on sale. If you don’t eat them right away, freeze them. Fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can be used in a variety of ways—the more you consume, the better! When selecting canned fruit, choose fruit that is canned in its own juice or light syrup. When choosing canned vegetables, choose vegetables that are canned with no added salt or low-sodium.

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October 3, 2013

Dave Krepcho: SNAP Challenge Final Day

Author: Dave Krepcho

Dave's healthy mealEating Healthy?

Much to the surprise of my wife and I, you can eat healthy…some of the time. The dinner in the photo above cost $3 – $3.50, above our average cost of $2.00. As soon as you go for the real healthy meals it does tap the rest of your budget. If I were to have to live on a  low budget long-term, there definitely would be some education to pursue about budget stretching. I have access to chefs and a dietician at Second Harvest so lots of suggestions and advice are forthcoming and very helpful. However, think about most of the people who rely on SNAP and the fact they most likely don’t have access to such insight. One of the outcomes of this experience is the fact that Second Harvest will look at what resources are needed to provide more education to the people we serve when it comes to nutrition and shopping on a budget. When you consider that Second Harvest reaches approximately 700,000 different people each year through our partners, there’s a lot of potential to share knowledge along with the 39 million pounds of food provided. Read More …

October 1, 2013

Dave Krepcho: SNAP Challenge Day 5

Author: Dave Krepcho

Dave's tuna sandwich & appleA huge disclaimer to anyone who may be reading these blogs – this one week experience by my wife and I in no way gets close to the reality of someone who must live week-in and week-out on a low income and depending on SNAP to hopefully get them through the month. However, it does provide a glimpse at some of the issues one might face and there is a value to that because it does negate the claims by some that people receiving SNAP are doing just fine and mooching off the government. Also, there’s nothing like “walking in the miles of someone else’s shoes” for a while to appreciate what you have and enjoy and to be able to relate to their story in some small way.

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April 17, 2012

Federal Budget & the Farm Bill

Author: Dave Krepcho

There are a lot of myths circulating about SNAP, formerly food stamps, and the people who receive benefits. This misinformation stigmatizes the entire program, but now they are being used as justification for dangerous policy changes and funding cuts that would make it harder for families struggling to get by day to day to put food on the table.

The House budget approved last month proposes to cut SNAP by nearly 20 percent, gutting support for millions of low-income families. The justification for this? The program has grown too much in recent years – too many people are getting benefits.

It’s true. SNAP has grown significantly in recent years. But it is only shocking that SNAP participation grew by 70% from 2006 to 2011 if you fail to mention that the ranks of the unemployed grew by 94% over the same period. Read More …

September 20, 2011

Paper Plate Campaign

Author: Jen Landress

As the government continues to wrestle with proposals to control the growing national deficit, difficult decisions will have to be made in the coming months on the federal budget.   A number of proposals have been put forward that cut many of the safety net programs that serve millions of low-income Americans.  If these cuts are included in the final budget, they will come at a time when unemployment and the need for food assistance remain stubbornly high. As a result, more and more people will be forced to seek help from food assistance programs, many of whom are already struggling to meet this record need.

In order to bring a voice to our neighbors whom are struggling to put food on the table we have begun a Paper Plate campaign. We are asking recipients of food assistance programs to let their voices be heard by filling paper plates with statements attesting to how important this food is to their family.  This campaign will offer our clients an easy, open-ended, and powerful way to advocate for themselves. For many this may be the first time they have done anything like this.

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March 14, 2011

Can We Make a Difference?

Author: Dave Krepcho

Can We Make a Difference?Last week I attended a policy conference in Washington, D.C. that addressed all of the federally funded nutrition programs and the plight of their future. In addition, I met with various legislators. Lots of very tough decisions must be made regarding our country’s budget. Washington is filled with groups and lobbyists all raising their issues and advocating on behalf of their constituency – ranging from the largest industries to the most vulnerable people.

My emotions swing when I make this trip because on one hand I feel as if the common person may not be taken seriously and perhaps be patronized. On the other, I believe that if we don’t speak out on what’s important that legislators won’t be informed for decision-making time. I met with legislators that totally support our cause and others who may not. There’s a saying that goes… “We get comfort from those who agree with us and growth from those who don’t.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that saying because I experienced both and firmly believe in the growth statement. It is so important to be able to listen to the other viewpoint to get full perspective. Not only do I grow but the other person is hopefully also experiencing the same.

No matter what party affiliation you may be, I believe we can agree to one important finding; that is the fact that children, seniors, the disabled and working poor should not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

The federally funded programs helping these people represent 1.6% of the federal budget. There are much bigger pots to raid. Do we really think balancing or reducing the budget should be done on the backs of the most vulnerable people? The moral test of a society is how it treats the poor and most vulnerable. Our future budgets should reflect these values.

When people do not have money, they do not have power when it comes to federal law making and they do not have a voice. Part of our work at Second Harvest is to be that voice for the voiceless. If we don’t tell their stories, who will?

What a great country we live in that we can actually go to Washington and have the opportunity to speak directly to law makers. That’s certainly not happening in the Middle East or most other parts of this planet. So, we can and do make a difference when we speak out. Through the use of stories from Central Florida it’s possible to capture attention.

As I walked in front of the Capitol and took a photo, just outside of my camera’s view was a homeless man sleeping on a bench covered with a tarp. What a poignant image; the irony of the two images together. That man may as well have been a million miles away; another reminder we have to share his story as well. When I stood in front of the Capitol it was quite imposing with its giant pillars and huge dome with armed guards at every entrance.

But I realized that my time was well worth spent speaking out on behalf of the less fortunate. If you’ve ever doubted whether you can make a difference as one person when it comes to a major issue, remember this saying by Anita Roddick….” If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.”

Thank you for your support of fighting hunger and providing hope here in Central Florida.

Dave Krepcho