This is the season for a food drive! It’s food drive time!
Food drives are important in the spring and early summer because food pantry shelves are depleted now. Storerooms are empty. The emptiness will continue from now until the fall.
It’s food drive time!
Food pantries everywhere are trying to build their stocks up for the worst month of the year: August.
So, now is a really good time for you to put on your generous hat and donate food to your food pantry! There are a couple of ways to do this.
You can clean out your kitchen shelves and give the food you know you are never going to use to a nearby food pantry. That’s an easy, and tried-and-true way to donate food. But, if you want to get creative, there are other ways to go about donating food to a food pantry.
Do you have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Invite everyone you know to a party celebrating your birthday or anniversary and ask everyone to bring food for a food pantry instead of a gift.
Have a food drive where you ask someone in a group you belong to for donations. This can be pretty easy. You can have a work food drive or a school food drive or a church group food drive. It really doesn’t matter what the group is. What matters is that you and a group of your co-workers get together and give food to a food pantry to feed hungry people.
When you are planning a food drive, don’t forget that pantries are in need of items of dignity. Now might be a good time to hold an Item of Dignity drive. People are always looking for toothbrushes, toilet paper, razors, tampons.
More and more pantries offer fresh vegetables and fruits. A challenge sometimes is making it last when it gets to your kitchen. Following are a few tips to help keep the food better. Even though it’s only going to be around for a day or two before you eat it, you want it to look its best, taste its best, and have the most nutrients possible.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Store LETTUCE, SALAD GREENS, and MUSHROOMS in a refrigerator on the middle or lower shelf away from fans because these items freeze quickly.
CUCUMBERS suffer from chill damage. You’ll have better luck with them if you store them on an upper shelf or on the door of the refrigerator.
CITRUS FRUITS release ethylene gas so it’s best to separate CITRUS FRUITS, MELONS AND APPLES away from delicate foods such as LETTUCE.
Some fruits and vegetables should not be refrigerated: BANANAS, GRAPEFRUITS, LEMONS, LIMES, MANGOES, MELONS, ORANGES, PAPAYAS, POTATOES, ONIONS, TOMATOES, AND AVOCADOS all do better when stored on a counter top.
Ripening some fruits on a counter top is best: AVOCADOS, KIWI FRUIT, NECTARINES, PEACHES, PEARS, AND PLUMS. After these foods are ripe, you may choose to put them in the refrigerator.
Fruits to store in the refrigerator include: APPLES, APRICOTS, BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, CHERRIES, CUT FRUITS, FIGS, GRAPES, ASIAN PEARS, RASPBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES
Vegetables to store in the refrigerator include: ASPARAGUS, GREEN BEANS, LIMA BEANS, BEETS, BROCCOLI, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, CABBAGE, CARROTS, CAULIFLOWER, CELERY, COLLARD GREENS, CUT VEGETABLES, ESCAROLE, GREENS, GREEN ONIONS, LEAFY VEGETABLES, LEEKS, LETTUCE, MUSHROOMS, PEAS, RADISHES, SPINACH, SUMMER SQUASHES, AND SWEET CORN.
When working with poultry, the wrapping should be completely unbroken with no punctures.
Raw poultry should have a fresh smell with no odor. It should be firm to the touch. It should not be sticky. There should be no discoloration. The internal temperature of raw poultry should be lower than 40F degrees.
Poultry should be stored separately from all other foods. It should be kept on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to prevent contamination from dripping.
Anything that comes in contact with poultry or its juices should be cleaned and sanitized immediately.
Frozen poultry should have no soft spots.
Partially thawed poultry should be used immediately.
Poultry cannot be kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
Wash hands immediately after handling poultry.
Milk stays fresh up to six days past the sell-by date. Frozen milk can be stored longer.
If milk sours, use it in a baking recipe calling for buttermilk.
Sour milk is not unsafe to drink.
COTTAGE CHEESE, YOGURT, SOUR CREAM, AND CREAM CHEESE are considered to be cultured products with a longer shelf life than milk. If the container is open, cultured products can be used up to six weeks past the sell-by date.
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Peace and food for all.
They came in quietly, unannounced, a couple of years ago on the 10:05 Trailways bus from Boston. Eighteen monks in all. They were transferred out of a lovely monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts, these priests who traditionally never move at all.
They left quietly these last few weeks, unannounced. They’re moving to a brand new monastery north of Albany. Funny how these things happen. I get the feeling that God is grinning from ear to ear.
We met them because, when they showed up in Woodstock they were temporarily hungry. The story was slow to surface and I wrote about it earlier in this blog and on the Good Morning Woodstock Blog . They shopped at the Good Neighbor Food Pantry until they got their budget straightened out. Once we found them, Peggy made sure they didn’t lack for anything if the pantry had anything to do with it.
In a very short time, weeks, they were delivering food to the home bound on Tuesday mornings with the other pantry volunteers. They filled out an application to be a food pantry with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. And, finally, they were attending our mass distributions.
Within a few short months they had their own food pantry going and were serving food to the hungry seven days a week.
Without saying a word, these men of the cloth showed us all how to feed the hungry. They didn’t skimp. They made as many food runs to Albany as they needed. They offered whatever food they had to anyone who needed it.
Then, when I went out and helped open the Reservoir Food Pantry, they made sure we never lacked for yogurt. Every time the pantry opened we had a freezer filled for our hungry.
I mean, these priests showed us all how to feed the hungry. They didn’t offer a three-day-supply of food to someone with the understanding that it needed to last seven days. They didn’t spend a lot of time focusing on questions about where people lived. It didn’t matter whether a person was homeless or not.
When the hungry pulled away from the Holy Assumption Monastery Food Pantry, they had enough food to not only feed the body but the soul.
So now, the priests, who traditionally never leave a monastery and move to another monastery, are packing up their gorgeous beeswax candle factory, their Food Bank ID number, and moving off to a community which really needs their skills, their dedication, their belief system.
Frankly, I was devastated when I heard the news. I went out to visit and write the story. I couldn’t do it.
I sat, visited, and kept asking myself “How can this happen?” The answer is easy, folks. They are being asked to take their skills and expertise to Schoharie County where no one is going to question the ethics of feeding the hungry.
And, I take comfort in the fact that we have not been abandoned in Woodstock. We have been taught our lesson. So…now the monastery is being converted into a convent.
These gorgeous men of God are taking their smiles, their radiant halos, their worship, and their food pantry skills to Cobbleskill, New York and they will press on with their daily lives.
The good nuns will have a pantry in Bearsville for our hungry. I understand they’ve already got their own Food Bank ID number. God is making sure we don’t forget what we learned.
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