Giving nourishment & compassion through the Food Bank

By Michelle Tsutsumi,

Kamloops Food Policy Council Communications Lead

There are so many ways to give over the holiday season: beautifully wrapped items from the wish list, handmade creations, time (such as a coupon to look after a friend’s kids for an afternoon) and experiences. Giving to community organizations is another fantastic way to feel the joy of giving, while also, in the case of the Kamloops Food Bank, contributing to a hunger free community.

The Kamloops Food Bank served over 6,380 individuals in 2017 (including over 2,000 children and youth), with an average of 1,425 households each month. Clients are able to access the food bank once a week for perishable items including bread, produce, dairy, meat and deli items and once a month for a non-perishable hamper. The weekly access to perishable items is unique and noteworthy for food banks as the majority have only monthly access. Also of note is the reserved ‘seniors only’ time at the Kamloops Food Bank, running Friday mornings from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

It is thanks to foodSHARE that perishable items are regularly available to clients. The foodSHARE program diverts a large amount of organic product from several stores and directs it to families, meal programs, and farmers. 45 percent of the donated product is given directly to food bank clients, 25 percent is distributed to 45 agencies and schools in Kamloops that provide meals for those in need, and the remaining 30 percent (which is typically expired when received by the food bank) is given to farmers for animal feed. Nothing goes to waste. Kamloops’ foodSHARE is the largest food recovery program operated by a food bank west of Toronto. In 2017, it distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of perishable food!

If you would like to contribute non-perishable food to the food bank this holiday season, the top 10 items are: tomato sauce, tuna, canned fruit, canned vegetables, pasta, formula, baby food, rice, peanut butter, and beans. Bring your food bank donations to the following events this month:

• December 3: Sun Peaks High Five Day, $5 lift ticket with food bank donation

• December 16: CP Holiday Train behind the Sandman Centre

• December 18 & 19, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Christmas Hampers at the Kamloops Food Bank

There is another way to contribute to the food bank over time. They welcome anyone interested in volunteering, or learning more about volunteering at the Kamloops Food Bank, to one of the following Volunteer Open House Tours. These will take place on Tuesday, December 11th from 8 – 9 a.m. or Thursday, December 13th from 9 – 10 a.m. Both Open House Tours will be hosted at the Kamloops Food Bank (171 Wilson Street).

Anyone can apply to become a volunteer by completing the Volunteer Application Form and a Police Information Check Form. Both forms can be picked up from the Administration office on the 2nd floor of the Kamloops Food Bank, Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

While we work towards a food system where everyone has access to healthy, culturally meaningful food – a food system where everyone can experience food security – here are a few meaningful ways to contribute this giving season. Donations of non-perishable food items and volunteer time go a long ways toward the Kamloops Food Bank’s Mission to share food, feed hope, and strengthen community.

Learn more on the Kamloops Food Bank’s website: kamloopsfood bank.org

For more information about KFPC, please visit our website: kamloopsfood policycouncil.com, follow us on facebook, or call 250-851-6111.

Parsnip Soup with Toasted Almonds

(Adapted from marthastewart.com)

Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.

Makes 5 cups. Serves 4.

A swirl in the blender with just a touch of heavy cream turns roots vegetables into a luscious soup. Top with toasted almond slices for a little crunch.

2 Tbsp unsalted butter (salted is fine, too)

3 small shallots, chopped (any onion will do)

1 pound parsnips (about 4 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped

1 small potato, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 ½ cups water

¼ cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp sliced raw almonds, toasted

1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots, parsnips, and potato, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Season with 2 tsp salt. Add water, and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 13 to 15 minutes.

2. While the vegetables are simmering, almonds can be toasted in the oven or pan fried in butter until golden brown. Set aside.

3. Purée mixture in a blender with cream until smooth. (For safety, remove cap from hole in lid, and cover with a dish towel to prevent splattering.) Divide soup among 4 bowls; sprinkle with almonds. Season with pepper.

© Kamloops This Week