Tag Archives: Food First

Special Meals

Photo Credit: First Choice Power

Any meal you share with friends is instantly more special. Take that feeling and multiply it times several hundred, and you’ll understand how we feel about the North Texas Food Bank’s annual Empty Bowls Luncheon. The event is one of the food bank’s biggest fundraisers and helps to feed hungry people right here in Texas.

The event always begins with each attendee picking a handmade bowl. You don’t actually fill it up with the soup, salad and desserts from some of the areas best restaurants, but you get to take it home as a year-long reminder to help hungry folks in our community. This year, First Choice Power’s own Catherine Carlton attended. Her favorite soups were Bread Winners’ roasted garlic tomato basil, Bolsa’s green garlic and a creamy spring onion soup with smoked apples and leeks. Yum!

Next up for meals with friends? The Tarrant Area Food Bank’s annual Breakfast with the Stars on Saturday, March 24. You can eat with real ballerinas, basketball players, and even Cinderella. Catherine will be there with her son Jeffery, and she’s promised to give us a full report and photos to share.

Let us know if you’ll be at Breakfast with the Stars. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from saving electricity to local events that also raise money for good causes.

Thanks for Sharing the Love!

We had a great February here at First Choice Power, largely because you were such sweet Valentines! Thanks to your help, our I Love Fighting Hunger campaign on Facebook donated 500 meals to the Texas Food Bank Network. It was part of our Food First™ program to stop hunger here in Texas, and we donated each time someone shared our I Love Fighting Hunger Valentine. Great work, y’all! Keep watching our Facebook page and Our Community page for more Food First events and programs.

Want to give a shout out to someone who’s making a difference and helping others? Go for it in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from saving electricity to making life better for Texans in need.

Be Our Valentine

As today is Valentine’s Day, we’ve been thinking a lot about love. Not to get all mushy, but if there’s a time of year that’s good for that sort of thing, this seems to be it. It’s no secret that we love Texas, and we love helping out people who need it. And all that love stuff inspired our I Love Fighting Hunger campaign on Facebook.

Here’s how it works. As part of our Food First™ program to stop hunger here in Texas, we’ll donate one meal to the Teas Food Bank Network each time someone Shares our I Love Fighting Hunger Valentine. Pretty easy, huh?

It will only be up for February, so go ahead and click Share the Love, tell your friends and let’s get a bunch of meals for the food banks here in Texas. Because there’s nothing we love more than making a difference.

Life’s Unexpected Awards


Photo Credit: www.caritas-waco.org

Last November, we were happy to take part in the Food for Families event as part of our Food First™ program to end hunger in Texas. Food for Families is the largest one-day food drive in Texas, and it takes place on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We thought that donating 12,000 meals to Caritas of Waco seemed like pretty good way to celebrate and give thanks. At the end of the day, a total of 1,221,385 pounds of food was collected across Texas—a new all-time record!

Then at the awards ceremony in January, First Choice Power won the award for the most pounds of food donated—for the second year in a row. We couldn’t be more honored. Big thanks to all of our friends at Caritas of Waco for the award, and for all of the good work you’re doing in the community.

Last Month We Whirled; This Month, the Can-Can

When we were little, we loved those game shows where contestants got to spin a big wheel to win money and prizes. So we were pretty excited about our December Food First™ Facebook promotion, where we helped fulfill Texas food banks’ “holiday wish list” items with our own spin the wheel game. And the Texas Food Bank Network was the big winner! Your spins raised $2,500 to help the organization, which distributes food and resources to food banks throughout the state. Big thanks to everyone who spun the wheel and shared the game with their friends—together, we’re fighting hunger and making a difference for hungry Texans.

But don’t think that because that game is over, all the fun is out of fundraising. This February, teams from the Belton area will be competing in Belton’s Second Annual Canstruction® Competition. It’s a timed building contest where participating teams make amazing sculptures out of cans of food. Last year, the teams built all kinds of fun stuff including one called U2 Can Help (featuring a portrait that looks a lot like Bono) and King TunaCANmon, which went on to win national awards. And at the end of the contest, all the cans (and funds that are raised) are donated to Helping Hands Belton, a local food pantry.

If you’re in the Belton area, you should consider getting a team together to enter! Or at least go by to check it out. The public is invited to watch the building from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, February 2—kids especially love seeing grown-ups hustling to balance cans and build their entries. As an event sponsor, we’ll be on hand to cheer for the teams and help with the judging. For more information visit the Helping Hands site. We hope you CAN make it!

Vote to End Hunger This November

Don't forget to vote in our poll!

Hard to believe it’s already November, which means the holidays are not too far behind!

We know this can be a tough time for some of our fellow Texans who struggle to put food on the table.

That’s why this year, we’re bringing back our highly-competitive Food First TM poll, in which we’re asking our customers and the communities we serve to weigh in on their favorite local food bank. The winning food bank will receive $1,500, second place will get $1,250, and third place will take home $750.

Our participating food banks this year are: Capital Area Food Bank, East Texas Food Bank, Galveston County Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank, Food Bank of Rio Grande Valley and Tarrant Area Food Bank.

(Last year, East Texas Food Bank took home the grand prize – will they do it again?)

Cast your vote on the Food First tab of our Facebook page by Nov. 30. We’ll announce the winner on Dec. 1!

BBQ Helps Feed the Hungry in Bosque County

When we adopted hunger as our No. 1 cause and created our Food First™ program, we didn’t want to stop supporting our community partners we’d worked with for years. We wanted to do both.

Todd Clift, First Choice Power’s business development manager for Bosque and surrounding counties, has made that happen on a number of occasions.

Last weekend was perhaps his biggest success at bringing the community together for a common cause.

The National Championship BBQ in Meridian is a favorite for the community—including our employees and Todd. And it’s not just about the delicious BBQ and brisket. The auction raises money that stays in Bosque County.

This year, Todd talked the committee into sending the proceeds from the auction to support the local food pantries.

Kay Duke of the Meridian Chamber called it a “huge success.”

The auction raised $9,000, and First Choice Power donated $500 to each of the food pantries on top of that!

While there were winners of the many BBQ categories, the real winners are the Clifton Food Pantry, Valley Mills Food Pantry and Helping Hands of Bosque County in Meridian.

Texas City Wins “Clash of the Cans” Against Galveston Ball High School

Clash of the Cans Halftime Presentation

The students at Texas City and Galveston Ball high schools created many winners out of their Clash of the Cans competition last weekend. For the second time, these two schools competed and came together – at the same time – to raise awareness about hunger in Galveston County and provide meals for those most in need.

The two schools collected more than 6,000 pounds of food during the two-week competition leading up to the rivalry football game last Friday.

First Choice Power awarded both schools with $1,000 scholarships and Food First™ participation plaques. Texas City won both the game and the four-foot tall Clash of the Cans trophy.

However, the real winner of the competition is the Galveston County Food Bank – Gleanings from the Harvest – the recipient of the 6,000 pounds of food.

Way to go, students!

Texas City Wins "Clash of the Cans" Against Galveston Ball High School

Clash of the Cans Halftime Presentation

The students at Texas City and Galveston Ball high schools created many winners out of their Clash of the Cans competition last weekend. For the second time, these two schools competed and came together – at the same time – to raise awareness about hunger in Galveston County and provide meals for those most in need.

The two schools collected more than 6,000 pounds of food during the two-week competition leading up to the rivalry football game last Friday.

First Choice Power awarded both schools with $1,000 scholarships and Food First™ participation plaques. Texas City won both the game and the four-foot tall Clash of the Cans trophy.

However, the real winner of the competition is the Galveston County Food Bank – Gleanings from the Harvest – the recipient of the 6,000 pounds of food.

Way to go, students!

#HungerAction Day 30: Live a Day on a Food Stamp Budget

All this...for $6.67!

Did you know: The food stamp budget for one person is $200 for a month, or $6.67 per day? (That’s according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.)

Today, on the last day of #Hunger Action Month, we encourage you to live a day on this budget – and share your experience via Facebook, Twitter or personal blog post. This was by far the hardest of the 30 ways in 30 days, and it’s the one that had the most impact on me – and will likely do the same for you, too. Here’s what I chose:

For breakfast, I had four egg whites and Greek yogurt with blueberries. This was a pretty normal breakfast for me, but I was craving my normal glass of orange juice and milk (which I couldn’t afford).

In between meals, I ate a banana.

For lunch, I had a salad (sans dressing), Top Ramen (14 cents!) and an apple. This was a very boring lunch, to say the least, and while I wasn’t starving after, I could have eaten more. (I was also wishing I could have a Diet Coke to go with my meal – or something other than water!)

For a snack, I consumed an apple. I normally put peanut butter on my apple, which helps fill me up and provides some protein, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t afford that, either.

For dinner, I had another salad (again, no dressing) with a can of black beans, some tomatoes from my sister-in-law’s garden (free!) and a sweet potato for dessert. This time, I was craving some milk to wash it all down – and some kind of flavorful dressing, like ranch or salsa.

While I enjoyed the sweet potato, it was definitely no substitute for my typical frozen yogurt dessert!

On my food pyramid scorecard, I fared well on meeting my protein, fruit and veggie needs. However, I lacked quite a bit when it came to my consumption of grains, fat and dairy products. This would not make for a sustainable diet!

Overall, this was quite a challenge, to say the least. While I wouldn’t go hungry on a diet like this, I could have eaten more. I also would have appreciated more variety.

This exercise really makes you think: There are several days a week when I spend more than $6.67 on one meal, let alone a day! I urge you to join me in trying to live on $6.67 a day. Can you do it? Can you do it while maintaining a healthy diet?

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, lived a day on a food stamp budget, or if you followed any of the #HungerAction Months ways, by leaving us a comment below. Share your daily meal plan, if you can! If you do, we’ll donate a meal to the Texas Food Bank Network! To learn more about our Food First™ program, click here.