The Partnership for a Healthier America started in 2010 as part of then First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to curb childhood obesity. The San Antonio Food Bank’s local initiatives were highlighted at that group’s Washington, DC, meeting last week.
The San Antonio Food Bank has to use forklifts to manage its tons of donated food that feeds 58,000 people a week. It might seem counterintuitive that a food pantry is in the anti-obesity business.
"There is a direct correlation between the poverty line and the waistline," stated Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper who said people in need are more likely to be obese.
"The coping strategies to stretch your food budget leans to giving more carbs and starches to the diet," Cooper explained.
The Food Bank is trying to move beyond providing just calories to providing quality food.
In the cold dock, at 45 degrees, boxes of fruits and vegetables await delivery.
Some of the carrots from Mexico are considered number two produce, too oversized or oddly shaped for commercial grocers, but still great to feed hungry children.
A 25-acre farm yields harvests like thousands of onions pulled out of the ground by volunteers. Now, Cooper is encouraging South Texas farmers to donate their left-over harvest instead of letting it rot in the field or using it as animal feed.
"We just need to get it from the farmer to the hungry family," he added.
The Food Bank’s goal is to give out five percent more fresh fruits and veggies to children than last year, a strategic push to accomplish their stated purpose: getting the right food to the right people at the right time.