Nutrition Newbie: Let’s Talk Turkey

Special Blog Post by: Susan Karlins, Director of Programs

“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips. This special post focuses on poultry and food safety.

It’s that time of year when many family holiday meals depend upon turkey, chicken and other poultry. Handling raw poultry during food preparation requires special safeguards to keep everyone healthy. Get your questions answered on our website: How to Keep Poultry Safe to Eat

Here are a couple of highlights:

  • When handling raw poultry, wash all kitchen knives, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops (and your hands!) with hot soapy water.
  • Do NOT defrost frozen poultry at room temperature. You can defrost it in the refrigerator. For quicker defrosting that is still safe, check out our tips.
  • At the Food Bank, we are getting ready to distribute thousands of turkeys to our clients and agency partners. Here’s a look at the bulletin board in the checkout room where our agency partners pick up food for their clients:

    ***Click here to read past Nutrition Newbie posts.

    So Many Ways to Help Feed Our Neighbors in Need

    We always feel the love from the community, especially during this time of the year. Here’s a list of special events and promotions benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank (we’ll keep this list updated as we hear about new ones, so check back often!):

    Ongoing

  • The KPIX/KBCW and Whole Foods Feed 4 More Program runs until December 26. Stores have food barrels for you to drop off your non-perishable food donations or you can purchase a “Pantry Builder” (cash donations that go directly to your local food bank) at the register.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market is running its annual “Grab n’ Give” program through December 31. Shoppers can purchase discounted “Grab n’ Give” bags filled with shelf stable items. Bags will be collected by our Food Rescue partner agencies. Watch this video to learn more about the program.
  • NBC Bay Area and Safeway kicks off its month-long “Help Us End Hunger” campaign benefiting Bay Area food banks with a one-day food drive on Saturday, November 22 at 155 Safeway locations throughout the Bay Area. A specially produced shopping bag filled with items that food banks need the most will be available for $10 through December 25. Here’s the press release.
  • Save Mart Markets (which include Save Mart, Lucky, and FoodMaxx) is collecting cash donations for food banks. Between now and January 2, 2015, shoppers can select a tag at checkout and directly donate to fund a meal for your local food bank: $2 for Breakfast, $3 for Lunch, $5 for Dinner. Here’s the press release
  • Events

  • Scouting for Food happens on Saturday, November 15. In the Bay Area, more than 30,000 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venturers, Explorers and their supporters will be “Scouting for Food” by picking up boxed or bagged nonperishable food items for local food banks placed on doorsteps by 9 a.m. Saturday, November 15.
  • During “Thanks for Giving Week” from November 17 through November 23, merchants throughout Los Gatos and Saratoga will be offering many different ways for the community to support our Holiday Food and Fund Drive!
  • Enjoy a fun evening out with dinner, music, and dancing on December 13 at the Mangiare, 301 Executive Park Blvd., San Francisco, CA. Hosted by one of our supporters, proceeds donated at the event will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Tickets are $50.00 and attire is semi-formal. RSVP by November 26. For more information, view this flyer.
  • Shop, Enjoy and Give Holiday Wine Stroll Benefiting Second Harvest at Santana Row will be happening on Tuesday evenings in December from 6:00-8:00 pm. Purchase a ticket for $15 and receive complimentary food & wine tastings inside Santana Row shops and restaurants, a signature Santana Row wine glass and exclusive shopping discounts. You can also get $2 off when you bring canned goods with you when purchasing your ticket at the concierge. More details
  • Promotions & Purchases

  • KFOG Live from the Archives 21 CD is available for purchase online or at Bay Area Peet’s Coffee & Tea. CD sales are expected to raise more than $200,000 for Bay Area Food Banks this year. Get a preview of the songs on the CD.
  • Nomikai in Downtown San Jose is donating $1 to Second Harvest for every pizza purchased from November 12 through November 22. More info
  • As part of its Spreading MODness 2014 campaign, MOD Pizza in San Jose is donating $1 for every MOD or MEGA pizza sold from November 25 through November 30 to Second Harvest! Get their address.
  • Mazda Drive for Good: Purchase a new vehicle at any local Mazda dealer November 21 through January 2 and you can direct a $150 donation to Second Harvest. Visit your local Mazda dealership for more info.
  • glassybaby, a Seattle-based company known for its hand-made glass votives, just opened their first ‘little shop of kindness’ at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose. A portion of sales will be donated to Second Harvest. More info
  • OP4G’s program allows you to help Second Harvest while also sharing your feelings and experiences with organizations who want your feedback. You’ll be paid for it, with at least 25% of your compensation being donated to us! Op4G conducts market research activities directly with members, so you remain anonymous and protected. They recently informed us of some new features for members. Sign up to participate!
  • foodtweeks™ is a mobile app that helps you make better food choices, or tweeks, this holiday season. Support Second Harvest by following these two steps: 1) Download the free app on your Android or iPhone and 2) Create a free account in the app and enter the promo code SHFBSCSM. Now every time you tweek calories out of a food you are thinking of eating, buying, or cooking, foodtweeks™ will donate twice as many calories to the Food Bank.
  • De Anza Appliance is offering $10 off any appliance repair or free diagnosis of a second appliance with donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank. “We’re looking forward to keeping your ovens running through the holidays and food on the table for our neighbors in need.” More info
  • Do you know about other special events and promotions benefiting the Food Bank? Please share them in the comments section below.

    Gobble Up a Pair of 49ers Tickets

    We’re excited to announce that we are holding a drawing for a pair of tickets to the San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks game on Thanksgiving Day! Our turkey goal this year is 13,000 (there’s no specific goal for chickens), so we’re super grateful to be able to give away these tickets as an incentive (thanks to the generous supporter who donated them!).

    So how can you enter the drawing? For every frozen turkey or chicken donated, you will get an entry form. So, for example, if you donate 2 frozen turkeys and 2 frozen chickens, you’ll get 4 entries.

    Donations must be made at one of our 3 locations starting on Monday, November 10 through Monday, November 24 during food donation dock hours. Entry forms must be filled out in person at the time of the donation and put into the designated drawing box.

    Frozen turkey and chicken donations can be dropped off at any one of our three distribution centers:

  • Curtner Center, 750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose, Holiday Donation Hours
  • Cypress Center, 4001 North 1st Street, San Jose, Holiday Donation Hours
  • Bing Center, 1051 Bing Street, San Carlos, Holiday Donation Hours
  • The drawing will be held on Tuesday, November 25, and the winner will be notified that same day.

    Here are more details about the game:
    San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
    Thursday, November 27 @ 5:30 PM
    Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
    Section: 412, Row: 24, Seats: 19 & 20

    Rules:

  • Donations made through Monday, Nov. 24 qualify for the drawing
  • Must be at least 18 years of age to enter
  • Entry forms must be filled out on site, at time of food donation
  • Game tickets are non-transferrable
  • Copies of entry forms are not acceptable
  • Second Harvest Food Bank employees and their families are not eligible
  • Good luck and thanks for helping us feed our neighbors in need!

    October Social Media Roundup

    “Social Media Round-Up” is an ‘ICYMI’ compilation of the top hunger-related news articles and other interesting tidbits posted on our social media profiles.

    10/1: Americans Throw Out More Food Than Paper, Plastic, Metal, and Glass, WASHINGTONPOST.COM
    The title of this article is a bit mindblowing

    10/3: Super Hacks: How to Make Healthy Food Even Healthier, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    Except for adding fresh lemon to green tea, I haven’t heard of any of these…have you? ‪#‎foodiefriday‬‬

    10/7: Total strangers step in to help mother who cannot afford food [Video], TECHTIMES.COM
    Get the tissues out.

    10/8: The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have To See It To Believe It, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    The amount of food this guy rescued from dumpsters is pretty amazing. You’ve got to see the pics.

    10/11: How One Student is Fighting the College Hunger Crisis, MSNBC.COM
    We know that college hunger is growing. In our region, the cost of living makes it nearly impossible for low-income students to stay in school and end the cycle of poverty through education. To help them out, we’ve established food pantries in partnership with the SparkPoint centers at Skyline and Cañada Colleges and, in October, we’ll start promoting food assistance programs to Foothill College and College of San Mateo students that they may be eligible for.

    10/13: Food Tank’s Fall Reading List: 20 Great Books About Food, FOODTANK.COM
    Looking for a good book to read? Check out this Fall Reading List from Food Tank: The Food Think Tank.

    10/16:

    Our CEO Kathy Jackson sheds like on what hunger looks like in our community at today’s Google Tech Talk on hunger relief

    A photo posted by Second Harvest Food Bank (@2ndharvest) on

    10/21: This Label Says Just How Bad Juice and Soda Are, THEATLANTIC.COM
    What if a nutrition label told you that the calories in the drink you’re holding is equivalent to a 50-minute jog – would that change your mind about drinking it?

    10/22: Here are the Biggest Reasons Wasted Food Doesn’t Get to Poor People Who Need It, BUSINESSINSIDER.COM
    Why don’t more grocery stores and restaurants supply their excess food to the people that need it? This article gets at some of the challenges.

    10/26: Giant Leap From Stratosphere Sets New Record, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Google’s Alan Eustace – he broke the world record for completing the highest-altitude free fall by parachuting from 25 miles above Earth! One of our most generous supporters, he started and continues to spearhead the Google Costco Extravaganza (an event when Googlers raid Costco to buy food for local families in need). Congrats, Alan!

    10/27:

    Spotted at San Pedro Square – vote for your favorite pumpkin and the proceeds go to us!

    A photo posted by Second Harvest Food Bank (@2ndharvest) on

    10/28: 8 Impossible Choices People Who Can’t Afford Food Make Every Day, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    Nearly half of our clients have had to choose between food and education in the last 12 months. Learn about other hard choices people who don’t have enough food make every day.

    10/29: Report: U.S. Child Poverty Rate Peaked in 2010 and It’s Not Budging, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    “Children who struggle with hunger are more likely to get sick and endure impeded emotional, physical and intellectual development, according to a Feeding America study. Ironically enough, they’re also at a higher risk of becoming obese since cheap fast food is more affordable that healthy, nutritionally dense options.”

    *** Did you miss our September Social Media Roundup? Click here to read it.

    Nutrition Newbie: Healthy Kid-Friendly Party Food

    “Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

    It gets pretty tough to avoid sugary sweets starting right around Halloween and lasting all the way through the end of the year. Co-workers leave homemade cookies in the break room. Family and friends bring numerous dessert options to holiday potluck parties. Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at eating sweets in moderation.

    But what about the kids? Whether it’s at school or children’s parties, it’s hard to monitor and control how much candy or cupcakes or cookies are getting into your child’s tummy. And when the healthy fruits and veggies are on a table next to these sweet things, the competition can be close to nil. That doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying to put those healthy alternatives out there! In fact, thanks to bloggers and Pinterest, it’s real easy to find lots of ideas to try.

    When I asked our nutritionists for advice to share about healthy holiday treats for kids, they recommended several blog posts from School Bites:

  • A Year of Healthy Class Parties: A Planning Guide for Parents and Teachers
  • 5 Secrets to Throwing a Healthy Class Party
  • If you’re concerned about food dyes, check out Healthy School Holiday: A Natural Red & Green Food Celebration With 15 Festive Recipes (The strawberry and grape kabobs look delish—and so pretty!)
  • Here are some of my favorite ideas (the simpler the ingredients, the better!):

  • Halloween fruit from Under Construction Blog (this a little late, but something to keep in mind for next year)
  • Turkey Vegetable Tray from Living Locurto
  • Frozen Yogurt Buttons from Lady Behind the Curtain
  • What are some of your favorite healthy kid-friendly party foods?

    ***Click here to read past Nutrition Newbie posts.

    Realizing a Dream to Help Feed Our Neighbors

    “Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome supporters and staff who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.

    Local Hunger Fighters: Jim Gallagher, Director of Reaching Out Cathedral of Faith food pantry

    How are you helping Second Harvest and our community?
    Reaching Out has been helping the community for over 40 years. We have a 16,000 square foot warehouse and we provide groceries to 350 to 500 families each day we are open, which is about 700 to 1,000 families per week. That sounds like so much and it is, but we started to think about the working poor and how they can’t ask for time off of work to come to the pantry. So we started to dream that maybe we could go to them.

    Last year, a concerned employee from the Rocketship Si Se Puede Academy came to me and asked if I would help several struggling families. We started talking about all the working poor and how we could help. The mobile pantry was born. After meeting with Second Harvest and telling them my idea, they were not only receptive but very supportive of the whole program. This is groundbreaking stuff. We are handing out groceries to people who work but just can’t make it in this valley. They have to pick up their kids from school so it’s a one-stop shop. The principal of the school said he is already seeing the fruits from this program as the kids are not as stressed out due to food insecurity.

    What inspires you to give?
    What inspires me is to see kids smile and say, “Yes, we are going to eat tonight.” Sam Liccardo’s’ wife said it best as she used to work at that school, “Jim, don’t stop doing what you are doing. The kids are depending on you.” Now that’s inspiring.

    Why should people care about hunger in our community?
    We should care about hunger in our community because peoples’ lives depend on it. A little boy or girl can’t go get a job. An 80 year old with health issues can’t go out and work. A mother of 4 kids under 7 can’t afford to buy food after paying for rent, utilities, and transportation. We need to be there to help. Hunger in a community causes all kinds of problems – low test scores, fighting, anger, stress – the list goes on. These are our neighbors.

    Why do you support Second Harvest?
    I support Second Harvest because they care and help our community. They are an amazing partner, ready, willing, and able to help stop hunger. They do it with integrity, kindness and efficiency. Please help us stop hunger in our community; our neighbors are depending on us.

    ***Want to meet more people working to end hunger in our community? Click here to read past Local Hunger Fighters posts.

    September Social Media Roundup

    “Social Media Round-Up” is an ‘ICYMI’ compilation of the top hunger-related news articles and other interesting tidbits posted on our social media profiles.

    9/2: Guess who’s celebrating a 40th Anniversary? Every week during the month of September, we will be celebrating milestones from each decade. In this video, Deborah McGraw, our Donor Services Specialist, tells us about a special event from the 70s. Check out our website for a timeline and picture slideshow: www.SHFB.org/40years

    9/5: Nearly half of Second Harvest clients must make difficult trade-offs on regular basis, MERCURYNEWS.COM
    “Within the past year, 47 percent of local clients of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties have had to make such trade-offs, either by putting off buying school supplies or delaying continued education.”

    9/6: Last year, millions of Americans were hungry. Then Congress cut food stamps., VOX.COM
    “In 2013, 17.5 million US households were what the US Department of Agriculture calls ‘food insecure,’ according to a new report. That means that at some point last year, a lack of money made it difficult to buy food.”

    9/9: Who loves the 80s? We are continuing our mini-series of videos celebrating the Food Bank’s 40th Anniversary. In this one, Jamison Bloechl, our Senior Application Specialist, reveals a milestone technically from the 80s. Go to www.SHFB.org/40years for more totally awesome milestones.

    9/9: The Unemployment Rate In Every State, Before And After The Great Recession, NPR.ORG
    Not a full picture, but still interesting

    9/12: So What Does Color Have to Do With Health Anyway?, FORVIBRANTHEALTH.WORDPRESS.COM
    What does color have to do with our health? A lot! Check out this handy guide. ‪#‎foodiefriday‬

    9/14: 21 Brilliant Kitchen Hacks To Help You Cut Down On Food Waste, NEWS.DISTRACTIFY.COM
    So many great kitchen hacks that help reduce food waste

    9/16: Our 40th Anniversary celebration continues! Manny, Warehouse Manager at our Curtner Center, drops off Michelle, Food Resources Coordinator, to share a milestone about our growth in the 90s. Check out more milestones and a picture slideshow at www.SHFB.org/40years #SHFB40

    9/23: We hope you’ve been enjoying our 40th anniversary Instagram video series. This week, we’ve reached the 2000s! In this installment, Shirley Chang, our Partnership Manager for Santa Clara County, shares a milestone for our Produce Mobile Program. For more memorable events from the Food Bank’s history, visit www.SHFB.org/40years #SHFB40

    9/27: Supermarkets Waste Tons Of Food As They Woo Shoppers, BLOGS.KQED.ORG
    “With consumers demanding large displays of unblemished, fresh produce, many retailers end up tossing a mountain of perfectly edible food.” We are working to expand our grocery rescue program, which makes excess, unused food from local grocery stores available to neighborhood pantries, shelters and soup kitchens.

    9/28: Food Assistance Programs Can Help Seniors in Need, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
    “Recent statistics indicate only 39 percent of eligible seniors receive SNAP benefits. There are a number of reasons for the lack of participation. Some seniors are too embarrassed or too proud to apply. Others think that if they receive SNAP they will be taking food benefits away from others (which they won’t). Some think it is too difficult to apply for SNAP, and others don’t even know the program exists.”

    9/30: It’s the final installment of our Instagram video series celebrating Second Harvest’s 40th Anniversary! Sam, our Food Resources Representative, tells us about a big milestone for our Grocery Rescue Program. For more memorable moments, visit www.SHFB.org/40years #SHFB40

    *** Did you miss our August Social Media Roundup? Click here to read it.

    Steadfast Commitment to Helping Neighbors

    “Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome supporters and staff who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.

    Local Hunger Fighters: Beth Clark, Dave Severns Memorial Golf Tournament

    How are you helping Second Harvest and our community?
    Our organization, the Dave Severns Memorial Golf Tournament, is matching donations to Second Harvest Food Bank during the month of October. Donations up to $500 per person will be matched dollar-for-dollar, for up to a total of $25,000.

    Our commitment to ending hunger started with this motto:
    “You give us the food/money, we give you the lights, nobody gets hurt….”

    That was the motto of the Severns/Pease Christmas Light display here in Sunnyvale. What began as a small project in 1995 branched out to be an animated, solar powered display with over 80,000 computer-controlled lights on 270 different channels, synchronized to music. Planning for the display would take all year – each song took over ten hours to program, let alone stringing all those lights!

    Thousands of people would visit from around the Bay Area each year. Rather than charge admission, which was suggested by some, Dave Severns and Andy Pease decided to hold a food and donation drive for Second Harvest Food Bank. And the public was very generous, donating to both.

    Very sadly, Dave Severns passed away three years ago after a hard fought battle with cancer. It had been his dream to reach “The Million Pounds Club” for Second Harvest, and he did so in the last year of his life. The organization and all that it does meant so much to him.

    A group of Dave’s friends wanted to honor him, and honor his commitment to Second Harvest Food Bank and all the good work that it does. We now hold a Dave Severns Memorial Golf Tournament (DSMGT), where all proceeds are donated to the Food Bank. The first year, we raised over $4,000. Each year it has grown, and last year we raised over $20,000! And so it was a great honor when the DSMGT received the “2014 Community Champion” award from Second Harvest Food Bank this year, and achieved the “Blue Diamond” level. We are so glad to continue his legacy, thanks to the generosity of his family and friends.

    As with the Light Display, all individual donations up to $500 are matched by the Severns Family Foundation, capping at $25,000. This year we hope the general community will also donate, in honor of Dave, the Christmas Light Display and Second Harvest Food Bank. The matching offer of course applies!! Help us reach our goal of $25,000 in matching funds for a total of $50,000 – donate today!

    Why should people care about hunger in our community? Why do you support Second Harvest?
    The group of friends who organize the golf tournament is fortunate. We have jobs that allow us to lead a nice lifestyle here in Silicon Valley. But we know that so many people, hardworking people, do not. Second Harvest is an organization which has a high efficiency rating, and high impact, right here in our home.

    With every dollar donated providing two meals, we like how far our money goes – especially since everything is doubled via the Severns Family Foundation!

    We know that by giving to SHFB, we give in the best way possible to our community. We have volunteered at the warehouses as well as with fundraising. Each opportunity to give, gives back to us as well.

    Nutrition Newbie: Your Brain on Junk Food

    “Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

    My co-worker Erin ponders her options

    Do you remember that “This is Your Brain on Drugs” TV PSA from the late 80s? It was a startling and effective message to me, then and now. As the Food Bank’s official ‘nutrition newbie’, I can’t help but wonder if a “This is Your Brain on Junk Food” commercial would look pretty similar.

    Coincidentally, one of our staff nutritionists told me about a recent Newsweek article that points to research showing high calorie, fatty foods with lots of sugar and salt can be addictive, affecting the brain in ways resembling addictions to cocaine and other drugs. An overload of junk food could also be part of the reason why some people are not interested in trying new fruits and vegetables.

    Thankfully, there is good news. A pilot study showed that it’s possible to train your brain to prefer healthy food by actually changing your behavior and following a healthy diet (here’s a CNN article about that). So what are you waiting for? Get on that healthy diet, stat!

    Seriously though, perhaps the first step to changing dietary habits is to remember there are healthy alternatives, then proactively choose them over the unhealthy ones. Biting into fresh, sweet fruits and vegetables (like crisp apples and crunchy carrots) can be a much more pleasurable experience than chewing on processed, sweetened, salty and fatty foods (like greasy potato chips or french fries from a fast food restaurant). Repeat after me…choose the apple!

    This year, the County of San Mateo will be celebrating Food Day on October 24th with The Big Crunch. Find out how you can get involved and keep an eye on the Get Healthy San Mateo County Facebook page in the next few weeks for more details.

    What are some of your tips for saying no to junk food and yes to healthy food?

    ***ICYMI, check out our last Nutrition Newbie post about packing healthier foods for kids’ lunches.

    When I Help My Community, I Help Myself

    Special Blog Post by: Sandra, Second Harvest client and volunteer

    In the food distribution line at Our Lady of Guadalupe church, Sandra is the first volunteer that hundreds of people meet. Sandra greets every person with a cheerful “good morning” or “buenos días.” She works up a sweat doling out broccoli, carrots, onions, and strawberries to alleviate her neighbors’ hunger. Here’s her story:

    I’ve lived in San Jose since I was a teenager. I have one child and I’m also taking care of two young adults who don’t have parents in the states. I’m very involved with my church, Our Lady of Guadalupe. People tell me I’m really good at praying the rosary, so I make time to do that at funerals.

    For 28 years, I worked at a dry-cleaning business. I worked my way up to manage 33 employees. But two years ago, I was laid off. I tried to make it on my own, but eventually, I knew I had to get food for my kids.

    When I asked for food at my church for the first time, I was crying. I put on my hat to cover my head, I was so ashamed. But after that, I saw a lot of people who were going through the same thing. I felt comfortable.

    Ever since, I’ve been volunteering with the food distribution. At my job, I learned a lot of good customer service skills, and that has helped me in my role as a volunteer.

    At first, I couldn’t believe how many people in my community depended on the groceries we give out. Every Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of people come here to pick up food.

    Everybody volunteers with a lot of heart. As a volunteer, I try to treat everyone with respect. When I help my community, I help myself.

    ***One in 10 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties receive food from Second Harvest. Find out how you can help.