March Letter from the Executive Director: Healthy Lives Start with Healthy Foods

Each month of the year typically highlights a particular issue. Many are aware of Black History month or Breast Cancer Awareness month, or most important to our cause, Hunger Action month! The purpose of these monthly designations is to create awareness and action. They allow for amplification of issues about which the community may be unaware. Once such month is March, which is designated as Nutrition Awareness month.

For those we seek to serve at Feeding Tampa Bay, nutrition and health are fundamental concerns within the household. That which many of us take for granted, the ‘value’ of food, is a central problem in homes where food insecurity is prevalent and persistent. The reasons are two-fold. First, homes without reliable food sources don’t have enough to eat, and second, far too often the quality of the food they are able to secure (and afford) is a low in nutritional value, or worse, high in sodium, sugar or preservatives. Too little food and poor quality create health problems in the family.

We at Feeding Tampa Bay have been aware of and considering how best we can address these issues. For several years now we’ve been tracking the ‘quality’ of food we provide to our families. ‘Foods to Encourage’ based on the nutritional model, is our guidepost to making sure that we’re feeding the folks in our community good, nutritious meals. I am happy to say that our percentage of these foods has risen over the last three years significantly and we are close to 70%! This means the predominant amount of food we deliver is of good, wholesome quality and is adding to the health of the family.

After all, we may be delivering food, but what we are providing is health. And health is the foundation upon which all other possibilities rest. Those of sound body, mind and spirit can do almost anything! An investment in food today is a return to health tomorrow.