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Monthly Archives: January 2022

How to Eat Fresh During the Winter

The cold days of winter call for hearty soups and warming comfort foods; despite the weather, you can still ‘Eat Fresh’. Winter might not have the same fresh bounty as summer (at least here in Pennsylvania), but there are still many delicious and affordable ways to eat fruits and vegetables this time of year.

“Cooking with root vegetables, using canned and frozen produce, and adding fresh herbs can all help you to ‘Eat Fresh’ over the winter,” says Sol Noguera, CCFB Bilingual Outreach Educator. “Our winter session of Eat Fresh focuses on increasing the consumption of veggies by working with participants to add more produce to dishes they already make at home, build community through conversation and knowledge sharing, overall have fun and experiment in the kitchen.

 

Sol Noguera is the CCFB Bilingual Outreach Educator 

Here are four tips to help you Eat Fresh this winter:

Consider Canned and Frozen

We love the crisp snap of an in-season snap pea or the juicy bite of a summertime tomato, but in the winter, canned or frozen produce is an excellent alternative for flavor and cost too. Access to fresh food can be a challenge, and if you’re looking for ways to add more fruits and veggies, frozen and canned options are convenient, affordable, and nutritious, no matter the time of year. Add these veggies to soups, stews, stir-fries, pasta, and much more. A great way to prep for the winter during the growing season is to freeze or can your veggies or fruits so that when winter comes along, you’ll be ready to add them to your meals.

 

Get Roasting

“Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to tell Eat Fresh participants to make veggies tasty, especially for kids,” Noguera says. “Roasting is easy, delicious, and can bring so much flavor. By simply adding some garlic powder, salt, pepper, and maybe a little cayenne or red pepper if you like some heat -to just about any vegetable, you have a great foundation to a warming, comfort meal.” In addition, roasting a big batch of veggies is a simple task to increase your vegetable consumption. “I like to make a big batch of roasted veggies that I will add to my meals during the week. For example, roasted veggies are great in salads, sandwiches, burritos, frittatas, pizza, really any dish.”

Grab Some Greens 

Bring some color to an otherwise beige dish by adding dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, or Swiss chard. Throw a few handfuls of kale into soups and stews – a great way to bring fresh to canned soups too! Stir some spinach into your scrambled eggs (and some roasted veggies too). This is also a great way to reduce food waste by using greens that aren’t at their prime. 

 

Add flavor with herbs and spices

Using spices and herbs to season foods can make them tasty without adding fat, salt, and sugar. Cooking with herbs and spices can help add depth to canned tomatoes, brighten up a canned stew or bring a different flavor profile to roasted potatoes. Although some spices can be expensive (whoa saffron!) many can be easily found at discount grocers and even dollar stores.  Rosemary, thyme, Italian blend, cumin, red pepper, and garlic can make a big flavor impact in your cooking. Fresh herbs are best used at the end of cooking or just before serving the food.  Brighten up an easy meal like canned beans and tomatoes on rice by adding fresh cilantro.  Make mashed potatoes a meal by adding garlic (and greens) when mashing then serve under roasted veggies and top with parsley. Start adding a quarter to half teaspoon of dried spices and a tablespoon of fresh to you to your next dish and see what new flavors you can bring to the table.

“Once you start adding veggies and spices to recipes – especially those that you are familiar with,” says Noguera, “you’ll start seeing all kinds of ways to Eat Fresh and will be encouraged to try new foods too!”

A program of the Chester County Food Bank, Eat Fresh allows participants to gain positive attitudes toward a variety of nutritious foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. At the end of each session, participants receive a “CSA style” share of produce including items featured in the recipes prepared in class. Tune in to our Eat Fresh channel for inspiring tips and tricks.

 

Photos: Canva; Chester County Food Bank

¿Necesitas comida? Cómo obtener ayuda en el condado de Chester

Encontrarse en una situación de inseguridad alimentaria puede suceder en cualquier momento. No es agradable pensar en ello, pero una lesión, un despido laboral, una enfermedad familiar u otro cambio imprevisto pueden afectar drásticamente sus circunstancias.

Este escenario, comprensiblemente, hace que muchas personas se sientan vulnerables y abrumadas, y descubrir cómo y dónde pedir ayuda puede ser un desafío. Si no sabe a dónde acudir, estamos aquí para ayudarlo. El Banco de Alimentos del Condado de Chester ha hecho nuestra misión ayudar a nuestros vecinos necesitados a combatir la inseguridad alimentaria conectándolos con programas y recursos en todo el condado que pueden ser de ayuda. Desde nuestro programa de mochilas de fin de semana para niños en edad escolar hasta nuestras cajas de comestibles para personas mayores, nuestro personal y equipo de voluntarios dedicados trabajan incansablemente para asegurarse de que nadie en nuestra comunidad sea pasado por alto.

 

Primero, vea si se encuentra dentro de la huella de nuestra región visitando el botón Necesitar alimentos en la parte superior derecha de nuestro sitio web. Hay un mapa interactivo que ilustra nuestro impacto en todo el condado de Chester. Puede buscar su comunidad y encontrar una despensa de alimentos y sitios de comidas calientes. Existe una diferencia entre un banco de alimentos como el nuestro y las despensas de alimentos que en realidad envían a los clientes a casa con alimentos. Entonces, si bien no somos un sitio de recogida de alimentos, podemos conectarlo con una de las 160 agencias locales con las que trabajamos donde ese servicio está disponible. Si prefiere hablar con alguien por teléfono, llámenos al (610) 873-6000 y lo ayudaremos a identificar una agencia de alivio del hambre que atienda su parte del condado. También contamos con miembros del personal que hablan español.

 

Una vez que encuentre una despensa de alimentos o un armario cerca de su casa (generalmente según las líneas del distrito escolar), deberá reunir algunos materiales para inscribirse.

Para calificar en un armario de comida, un cliente debe:

  • Proporcionar su nombre, fecha de nacimiento y comprobante de domicilio.
  • Informe el ingreso total del hogar (esta es una autodeclaración basada en el 150% de la línea de pobreza).

Fuera de las despensas de comida, hay varias organizaciones de servicios sociales en todo el condado de Chester. Obtenga más información en nuestra página de Socios comunitarios sobre las formas en que las agencias con las que trabajamos pueden ayudar a proporcionar alimentos, refugio, cuidado de niños, asesoramiento y otros servicios.

 

Si necesita ayuda más allá de la comida, es fácil encontrar recursos de servicios sociales y humanos en su vecindario llamando o visitando el 2-1-1, una línea directa regional de servicios sociales. Para llamar, simplemente marque 2-1-1 o (866) 964-7922; la línea está abierta los 7 días de la semana de 8 a.m. a 8 p.m., y los servicios de interpretación están disponibles en más de 140 idiomas. Durante esta llamada gratuita y confidencial, se le comunicará con un especialista en información y referencias del 2-1-1 Southeastern Pennsylvania. Para obtener ayuda para encontrar servicios sociales como salud, necesidades básicas, salud mental y tratamiento por drogas y alcohol, consulte la Guía de recursos comunitarios del Departamento de Servicios Humanos.

Esperamos que este haya sido un recurso útil para cualquiera que busque formas de obtener ayuda. No dude en llamar al banco de alimentos del condado de Chester en cualquier momento durante nuestro horario de atención (de lunes a viernes, de 8 am.-5 p.m.) Si tiene preguntas o necesita más ayuda.

 

El Banco de Alimentos del Condado de Chester es la organización central para aliviar el hambre que atiende a más de 160 alacenas de alimentos, sitios de comidas y organizaciones de servicios sociales en todo el condado de Chester. Movilizamos a nuestra comunidad para garantizar el acceso a alimentos reales y saludables.

 

Nota del editor: esta publicación se publicó originalmente en diciembre de 2018 y se actualizó para mayor precisión y exhaustividad.

Need Food? How to Get Help in Chester County

Finding yourself in a position of food insecurity can happen at any time. It’s not pleasant to think about, but an injury, layoff from work, family illness, or another unforeseen change can drastically affect your circumstances.

This scenario understandably makes many people feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, and figuring out how and where to ask for help can be a challenge. If you don’t know where to turn, we’re here to help. Chester County Food Bank has made it our mission to help our neighbors in need combat food insecurity by connecting them with programs and resources across the county that can be of assistance. From our Weekend Backpack Program for school-aged children to our Grocery Boxes for Seniors, our staff and team of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to make sure that no one in our community is overlooked.

First, see if you fall within the footprint of our region by visiting the Need Food button in the upper right of our website. There is an interactive map that illustrates our impact across Chester County. You can look for your community and find a food pantry and hot meal sites. There’s a difference between a food bank like we are, and the food pantries that actually send clients home with food. So while we aren’t a pick-up site for food, we can connect you with one of the 160 local agencies we work with where that service is available. If you’d prefer to speak with someone on the phone, call us at (610) 873-6000 and we’ll help you identify a hunger relief agency that serves your part of town. We also have staff members that speak Spanish.

Once you find a food pantry or cupboard close to your home (usually based on school district lines), you’ll need to gather a few materials to sign up.

To qualify at a food cupboard, a client must:

  • Provide name, date of birth, and proof of address.
  • Report total household income (this is a self-declaration based on 150% of the poverty line).

Learn more about this process here.

Outside of food cupboards, there are a number of social service organizations throughout Chester County. Get more info at our Community Partners page about the ways the agencies we work with can help to provide food, shelter, childcare, counseling, and other services.

If you do need help beyond food, it’s easy to find human and social service resources in your neighborhood by calling or visiting 2-1-1, a regional social services hotline. To call, simply dial 2-1-1 or (866) 964-7922; the line is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and interpreter services are available in more than 140 languages. During this free, confidential call, you’ll be connected with a 2-1-1 Southeastern Pennsylvania information and referral specialist. For assistance in finding social services such as health, basic needs, mental health, and drug and alcohol treatment, review the Department of Human Services Community Resource Guide.

We hope this has been a helpful resource for anyone looking for ways to get help. Feel free to call Chester County Food Bank anytime during our operating hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) with questions or for further assistance.

 

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 160 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Chester County Food Bank Announces New Members to its Board of Directors

The Chester County Food Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors.  They are Miguel Alban of Customers Bank, Melinda McCann of Meyer Design, and Florence Zheng of Bentley Systems.

“We welcome Miguel, Melinda, and Florence to our Board of Directors. We are excited and honored that these business leaders will help guide Chester County Food Bank as we continue our hard work to ensure access to real healthy food,” said Board Chairman Bob McNeil. “Their expertise in law, business, finance, marketing, and human resources will help us explore opportunities and define solutions to create a food secure Chester County.”

“We are grateful for their desire and enthusiasm to help make a difference in the lives of those we serve here in Chester County,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO of Chester County Food Bank. “I look forward to working with each of them and the collective expertise of our impressive Board of Directors.”

CCFB would like to thank and acknowledge the hard work and long-time dedication of Barbara Reisenwitz, Director of Services, Governance, and Operations at Bentley Systems for her three years of service to the Board. Additionally, José Frazier of Wegmans served four years on the Board before transitioning to the staffing team of CCFB joining in their newly created position of Chief Operating Officer.

 

Miguel Alban is the Senior Vice President and Director of Multicultural Banking for Customers Bank.  He earned his Law degree from the University of Piura, Peru. He earned his master’s degree in International Law from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Stonier School of Banking.

Miguel serves as the Honorary Consul of Peru in Philadelphia. He was the founder of The Hispanic Approach and the Hola Magazines, marketing agencies focused on multicultural markets. He lives in Malvern with his wife and three children.

 

Melinda McCann is the Executive Vice President at Meyer Design, a national architecture and interior design firm headquartered in Ardmore. She is an alumna of St. Joseph’s University – Erivan K. Haub School of Business with a B.S. in Business Administration: Marketing.

Melinda leads all external strategies including market growth, client relationship management, business development, strategic messaging, and branding for Meyer.  She lives in Exton with her husband and two children.

 

Florence Zheng is the Chief Talent Officer for Bentley Systems, a leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure, headquartered in Exton.

Florence holds an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a B.A. from Shanghai International Studies University. She started her HR career with Shell and served in HR management with GE Energy in China.  She lives in Exton with her son.

 

Miguel, Melinda, and Florence join the additional members on the Board of Directors for the Chester County Food Bank.

MATCHED! Inaugural Bentley Systems Sustaining Community Challenge a Success

We are excited to announce the Bentley Systems inaugural Sustaining Community $150,000 Match Challenge has successfully surpassed the goal. The grant matched dollar-for-dollar over 450 contributions that were donated November 1, 2021, through the end of the year, up to $150,000 for a grand total of $357,746. The grant and Sustaining Community gift challenge donations will support Chester County Food Bank to provide over 140,000 healthy meals to those in need at a time when demand created by the pandemic has stretched the organization’s resources to the limit.

“Our impact has never been greater, and it is the direct result of the generosity of donors like Bentley Systems,” said Andrea Youndt, CEO of the Chester County Food Bank. “Bentley Systems has been a dedicated supporter of CCFB since our inception in 2009, and the match challenge provided a tremendous opportunity for the community-at-large to join forces for good with such a philanthropic corporate partner that is committed to sustaining our community.”

Matching funds for the Sustaining Community grant came from a myriad of funders – from individual donors to a pottery collective and Giving Tuesday donors to fellow corporate partners such as Customers Bank and Hankin Group that each contributed $10,000 to the match challenge.

“Chester County Food Bank’s commitment to fighting hunger is more relevant than ever during these challenging times for our community,” Dan Koval, Corporate Initiatives Manager. “It is inspiring to see how the community answered the call to action set forth by Bentley Systems. Together – we made a powerful impact for CCFB and our community this holiday season.”

Make a Year-Round Impact. Join Beyond Hunger 365

There is no short-term solution to hunger. The Chester County Food Bank depends on reliable, steady support to ensure access to real, healthy food every day of every month.

Will you be a part of our “Beyond Hunger 365“ monthly giving community? We appreciate every single monetary donation and every item of food that comes to us from fundraisers and one-time donations. But, to carry on our mission to the best of our ability, we’re looking for a group of supporters who are passionate about changing the face of hunger in our county to pledge a consistent amount each month.

We call the program “Beyond Hunger 365” because this truly sums up the scope of food insecurity and the magnitude of the problem we’re fighting to solve. Families who are struggling to consistently put enough food on their tables aren’t just struggling during the holidays. It’s an issue that’s relevant every day of every month of the year. In fact, more than 50,000 of our neighbors face food insecurity year-round, and together, we can make a big impact in our neighborhoods to ensure access to real, healthy food.

To help make a real change, a monthly gift doesn’t need to be monumental. Actually, just like putting money aside in a college fund, into retirement, or toward another savings goal, a small amount that is set aside each month can really add up! This “set it and forget it” principle is not only effective for donors, but it is also great for the organization (that’s us, CCFB). Through this program, we can look at the fiscal year ahead and have an accurate sense of the funds that will be consistently available for our work.

For example, a monthly gift of just $10 is enough to provide fresh produce to a family of two through our fruit and veggie prescription program, Fresh2You FVRx. That’s the equivalent of one lunch a month that you pack instead of grabbing takeout. A monthly gift of $30 will help provide a month’s worth of food to two seniors, some of the most vulnerable people in our community, through our Senior Grocery Box program. Even just $5, the price of a fancy morning latte, can help to make an enormous difference in the life of someone in need.

Join us today, and remember: A little goes a long way! Together we can make an amazing impact in Chester County.

“Heat or Eat”: Some Neighbors Have to Make This Difficult Choice

 

 

The blustery days of winter have arrived in force. We are seeing record-setting lows in temperatures. Unfortunately, as the chill of winter blasts through the hills and towns of Chester County, our communities are still in desperate need. Hunger knows no season.

Those less fortunate still require heat and hot water and other social services, in addition to food. The impacts of the pandemic continue to affect individuals and families who may have never experienced food insecurity.  People in our community, unfortunately, may have to decide whether to pay a utility bill or cut drastically into their food supply. Heat or Eat… what would you choose?

Government assistance isn’t always an option. Household income generally must be at or below 150 percent of the poverty line. For a family of three for the federal fiscal year 2022, that’s $2,745 a month or about $32,940 a year or less to qualify for government food programs. This is where we help. There is no need to choose between paying for heat or choosing to eat. Our neighbors depend on food assistance from CCFB and its network of hunger-relief partners to make ends meet all year long.

You can help by donating in one (or more) ways. Your donations are always welcome and valuable to the Chester County Food Bank and we appreciate everything you do all year long.

  • Food Donations: Take advantage of winter sales at local supermarkets. Picking up a few extra non-perishables while shopping for yourself or your family is an easy way to be involved with little effort. Food donations can be dropped off at CCFB  Monday – Friday 8a-5p. Get your neighborhood or organization involved and host a larger food drive. Check out our toolkit for resources to get started.
  • Virtual Food Drives & Fundraisers: With many businesses working remotely and the limitations of social gatherings, hosting a virtual food drive or fundraiser is a great way to safely keep people connected. Get set up in minutes and you’ll create a unique web link to share with your group to start fundraising.
  • Volunteer: We are offering volunteer opportunities, however, the number of people in a shift is limited for Covid safety protocols. Come out of winter hibernation and join other members of our community to sort, pack and help with food distribution indoors. Sign up here.
  • Monetary donations. Too frigid out? Bad roads? A simple click here will send your donation directly to us, where 85 percent of all monetary donations go directly to program costs. Make it easy and join Beyond Hunger 365, our community of monthly donors.  Any amount makes an impact.


Join other donors and help us continue our mission to mobilize the community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

 

 

Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

 

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 160 food cupboards, meal sites, and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities while raising awareness and engagement among our community.

Ed Williams

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

RESCHEDULED to January 21: MLK Day of Service Drive-Thru Food Drive at CCFB

** Due to the forecasted snowstorm on Sunday 1/16 into Monday, 1/17, we are going to reschedule our Drive-Thru Food Drive to Friday, January 21, 2022**

With the surge in cases of the Omicron variant, we are again challenged with being able to safely offer volunteer opportunities, particularly for Martin Luther King Day – a day dedicated to serving your community.  More than two years into this pandemic, we have learned how to restructure programs so that we can continue to serve.  Although we can only host a very limited number of onsight volunteers, what we have successfully developed in response to safety protocols is our Drive-Thru Food Drives.  We hosted our inaugural MLK DAY of Service last year, and we had such a great response that we will be hosting it again this year on Friday, January 21, 2022. (rescheduled from 1/17 due to snow)

We invite you to the Drive-Thru Food Drive 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at our warehouse at 650 Pennsylvania Drive in Exton in the Eagleview Corporate Center.  Staff and volunteers will be ready to assist with contactless drop-off. Our most needed food items are peanut/nut butters, all-fruit jams, olive oil & spices, and canned proteins (tuna, chicken, beans).  Please no glass containers, homemade or expired items. If possible, please donate items with no/low sodium and with no high fructose corn syrup.

Not able to drive-thru on the 21st?  Consider giving to our virtual food drive or starting your own.

Questions? Email food@chestercountyfoodbank.org or call 610-873-6000 x103

Garden Resources

We are to support our growing community of gardeners. Whether you are a beginner or a master gardener, we have a variety of resources to help you make the most of your garden.

Planting Plans

Sample planting plans for three-season gardening: spring, summer, fall

    • Plan 1: Radish & Peas, Lettuce & Pole Beans, Beets
    • Plan 2: Spinach, Squash, Scallions
    • Plan 3: Radish, Eggplant, Beets
    • Plan 4: Broccoli/Cabbage, Bush Beans, Lettuce
    • Plan 5: Beets, Cucumbers & Bush Beans, Radish
    • Plan 6: Potato, Kale/Collards
    • Plan 7: Lettuce, Peppers, Spinach
    • Plan 8: Spinach, Tomato, Salad Turnips

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag your garden photos with #GetGrowingChesterCounty