At the Food Bank, we understand the importance of good health, and we are committed to providing fresh, nutrient-dense food to people in need through all of our distribution programs. Here’s how we’re putting our commitment into action.
Healthy Options Healthy Meals
The Food Bank is one of twelve Food Banks across the country taking part in this initiative sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the Center for Weight and Health, and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Through this initiative, the Food Bank has implemented a formal nutrition policy and an inventory ranking system that will help guide our charity partners as they make choices about the food products that stock their feeding programs.
We know that our partner charities and clients can only make healthy food choices if we provide them with healthy options. That is why the Food Bank’s nutrition policy applies to all departments within the Food Bank and is designed to guide our entire operation from food procurement to food distribution.
Choosing Healthy Options Program (CHOP)
Originally developed by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, this inventory ranking system allows our Food Bank to evaluate products for their nutritional value. After evaluation, each product is given a 1, 2, or 3 ranking. One (1) is the highest ranking a product can receive, meaning that it is of the highest nutritional value. The numerical ranking is displayed on our inventory list so that our nonprofit partners can see the nutritional value of each food item they select for their feeding programs.
Farm to Family Program
California produces more than half of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The Farm to Family Program connects the state’s growers and packers withfood banks to deliver fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables to families in need. Often growers and producers have ‘excess’ produce that is either dumped or plowed under, but the Farm to Family Program ‘saves’ this produce and delivers it to food banks throughout California.
Through this program, the Food Bank distributed over 7.1 million pounds of fresh produce this year to families in need, representing 36% of our total food distribution. Our goal for the coming years is to increase the percentage of fresh produce distributed from its current level of 36% to at least 50% of the total amount of food distributed annually.