One of the long term issues to address that our founder, Ann Weick, wrote down was:
-Is ultimate goal of Just Food to create a central food bank to store food, providing nutritional programs and provide other related services?
The truth is, we have a relatively easy job at Just Food. Someone else tilled the garden, planted the flowers, and now, we just have to make sure we have good people go out to harvest the crops and take care of the garden. We're stewards, really.
I have a deep appreciation for those who have put in hours upon hours of sweat equity and sacrificed. I think in order for an organization to know where its going, it has to know where its been. It means a ton to me to be able to look back on this goal and know that we are at least heading in the direction of bringing it fruition.
The original vision for Just Food was to create a central food bank to store food. We have a 9,600 square foot building that we acquire food to and distribute food out of. We have grown out of one warehouse and are nearly growing out of the one we are in. In 2011, we distributed 975,000 pounds of food. In 2012, we are projected to distribute almost double that. To put things in perspective, we distributed around 200,000 pounds in 2010. It's pretty awe-inspiring when you think about it.
The second part of that vision was to provide nutrition programs and other related services. This means that we have do all we can to get people out of the cyclical natures of poverty that exist.
The people that we've surveyed have stated that they don't know how to cook properly. They're eating processed, boxed food and they don't know anything different...and if they do know something different, they don't have the resources necessary to do it right. They don't know how to spend $1.50 on a meal that they can eat healthily. And they don't have pots and pans that they need to cook well. They have a microwave and maybe a sauce pan.
There has to be a better way, we thought.
We are rolling out nutrition classes that WellCommons own Karrey Britt will be covering. Two pilot nights will be taking place on Monday, August 6 and Wednesday, August 8. They'll start at 6:00 p.m. We have purchased portable kitchens and utensils and pots and pans. We are inviting our low income folks to come learn how to cook. We are also inviting the community to see these great things that are happening.
The classes will be taught by former Executive Chef of Free State Brewery, Rick Martin and Rick has put together a curriculum that will cover knife skills, sanitation & the first class will consist of making homemade pico de gallo, rice & beans, and the food cost for each person will be around $1.50. Who says you can't eat homemade food that's easy to cook and have it be cheap?
Great things are happening. The vision from the beginning is being fulfilled right before all of our eyes. Come and see.
Tagged: food pantry, food, lawrence, volunteer, volunteering, hunger, food bank, douglas county, low income, just food, vision, heroes, dignity, respect, clients, JUST, founder, ann weick, nutrition classes