Spring Harvest Challenge to fill food bank with healthy food

Staff Reports

HAYS COUNTY – The food bank distributed more than 1 million pounds of food in 2020. In order to keep up with the need, they are always in need of community food drives and food donations. The Spring Harvest Food Drive Challenge is a fun way to get the community involved with a friendly little competition. The team who collects the most pounds of food by May 15th gets to proudly display the official traveling trophy for one year!

According to Feeding America, the leading research agency on food insecurity in the United States, more than 24,000 Hays County residents are considered food insecure (2018 data). That number has surely grown in light of the recent pandemic that forced many out of jobs or reduced their hours. 

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a household-level economic condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. In other words, it means that if a household that shares resources (bills, food, shelter, etc.) does not have reliable access to a sufficient variety and amount of food for a healthy lifestyle, they are considered food insecure. In layman’s terms, there isn’t enough good food for all.

What makes a food insecure household? Many factors can contribute, but often times it is because they:

  • live paycheck to paycheck without enough financial resources to pay for all of their bills each month,

  • are unsheltered with little to no income,

  • are unable to work due to health,

  • or have just suffered a disaster which has overturned their world (loss of job, loss of a breadwinning spouse, a natural disaster, a pandemic). 

There are varying levels of food insecurity, with the most dire resulting in skipped meals multiple times each week. Other food insecure households may have enough financial resources to keep their bellies filled week to week, but they usually aren’t able to prepare nutritious meals. They rely heavily on processed foods, which are much cheaper, but not what is needed for a healthy lifestyle.

It is much more cost-effective for those living small paycheck to small paycheck to purchase shelf-stable boxed meals than to buy fresh meat and fresh produce. However, processed foods tend to contain an excessive amount of salt, sugar, and preservatives. Diets high in these can lead to diabetes, hypertension, and even obesity. Low-income households tend to have a higher percentage of food-related illnesses like these because of poor diets due to lack of available resources to purchase nutritious whole foods.

Hays County Food Bank is passionate about nutrition and aims to fight all levels of food insecurity by providing access to fresh produce and other healthier foods. This is where the great Hays County community can help out!

Join the Challenge!

The Spring Harvest Food Drive Challenge encourages fresh produce donations and other healthy foods like frozen lean meats and meat alternatives, canned meats, canned vegetables and fruits, and whole grains, beans and legumes.

Grab a team of coworkers, friends, or family and get to collecting. 

  • Support your local farmers by purchasing extra from them

  • Buy bulk in-season items from your local grocery store and donate half

  • Donate your extra harvest from your home-gardens

Even if you can’t give fresh, think about what you are donating. Focus on healthy options like canned vegetables, fruits, and meats. Look for items with no added sugar or salt. Every donation will make a difference, but let’s help our food insecure neighbors have access to healthy options.

Register your team at https://bit.ly/HFBDrive. Contact Community Relations Coordinate, Iris Tate, at itate@haysfoodbank.org or (512) 392-8300 x230 if you have any questions about joining this challenge.

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