Tag Archives: hunger

Feeding Texas Families

Did you know that Texas leads the nation when it comes to hungry children with more than 22 percent of children unsure of how they will get their next meal? Since 2010, we here at First Choice Power have been helping make a difference for the approximately 1.3 million families in Texas that do not have enough food through our FoodFirst™ program. We’ve partnered with food banks across the state to donate over a million meals to hungry children and families. We’ve sponsored canned food drives, offered a donation matching program and First Choice Power employees continually volunteer with Meals on Wheels, The Stewpot and the Christian Community Action Food Pantry. We’ve been continually gratified by our efforts and are proud to be able to give back to our community. And today, we were also very pleased to be acknowledged with an Honorable Mention in the PR News Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for our work to fight hunger. (We don’t like to brag, but we won last year, too!)

Want to get involved? You, too, can help fight hunger in Texas:

  • Host a canned food drive at your church, school or workplace
  • Donate or volunteer for a food bank in your area
  • Participate in the upcoming “Stamp Out Hunger” event (May 12, 2012) by leaving canned food by your mailbox.

And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from saving electricity to helping good causes.

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.

Happy [Early] Thanksgiving from First Choice Power

Dawn (left) and Jim (right) with the "Spam Bacon" winning canned food

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving as a First Choice Power family. First Choice Power provided the ham, turkey and dressing, and our employees brought their favorite sides, salads and desserts.

In addition to the good food we shared with one another, we also wanted to share with those who aren’t fortunate to have a nice meal next week. 

Our employees contributed more than 250 canned food, as well as many dollars, which will provide more than 2,500 meals to the community. The cans will be donated to our partner Salvation Army in Lewisville, Texas, and the money we raised will be split between two of our food bank partners: North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank.

For a little added fun and humor, we held a “most unique” can contest. The Spam and bacon can was victorious! Although, the judges had a tough decision as there were a few funny, odd and ethnic foods to pick from!

Most importantly, this was a time for the First Choice Power family to give thanks for what we have and give back to those less fortunate.

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!

Thanks to Supporters like You, We’re Donating Nearly 3,500 Meals to Those in Need

How much food can you buy for $6.67?

Hunger Action Month is a wrap, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results! All September-long, we posted updates about various ways you can get involved in the fight against hunger.

For one, our community manager, Catherine Carlton, lived through Feeding America’s “30 Ways in 30 Days,” in which she made creative efforts to raise awareness about hunger, daily. If you haven’t read her post about living on a food stamp budget, you should definitely do so! It is eye-opening, to say the least.

We also teamed up with The Texas Food Bank Network and Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative to produce the first-ever Hunger Gap Report that shows the need in each county across Texas. There are some chilling stats in there, if you haven’t looked at them already.

For every re-tweet or comment on our social media pages, we told you we’d donate a meal to the Texas Food Bank Network. Well, thanks to our wonderful Facebook and Twitter followers, we are donating nearly 3,500 meals!

We even enlisted the help of a couple Texas high schools – Galveston Ball and Texas City – in our fight against hunger. During our annual “Clash of the Cans” competition, the two schools competed to see who collected the most cans. Look for an update on our blog this Friday!

To top it all off, this past month we even reached our 1 million-meal milestone! But, the fight against hunger is far from over. You can learn more about our Food First™ programs and ways to get involved in your community by visiting http://www.FirstChoicePower.com/FoodFirst.

Thanks again for all the support!

#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.

#HungerAction Day 29: Post a Photo on Facebook to Call Attention to Hunger Action Month

Join Catherine in posting a photo about hunger on Facebook!

As we’ve talked about earlier this month, Facebook is an easy tool to share your voice as a hunger advocate.

A photo tells a thousand words, right?

That’s why I posted this photo (at left) of a thousand Food First™ summer bags on my Facebook page.

I’m proud that First Choice Power helped create so many partnerships with organizations like the East Texas Food Bank, West Texas Food Bank, Christian Community Action (CCA), Galveston County Food Bank and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley – to provide thousands of meals for kids in need.

And these bags went out in just a couple of weeks.

The need is large! In the Valley, one in two kids does not know here his/her next meal is coming from – that’s half the kids. I have two kids. Unacceptable.

Post a photo (ex. empty shelves in a food bank) showing how great the hunger need is in Texas on your Facebook page today.

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, posted a photo on Facebook to call attention to hunger, or if you followed any of the #HungerAction Months ways, by leaving us a comment below. If you do, we’ll donate a meal to the Texas Food Bank Network! To learn more about our Food First™ program, click here.

#HungerAction Day 28: Set an Empty Plate at Your Table to Remind You of Those at Risk of Hunger

An empty plate serves as a poignant reminder of how fortunate we are to have food every night.

Today’s task is perhaps the easiest and the most powerful of the month.

Eighteen percent of Texans do not know where their next meal is coming from. We rank second worst in the country!

So, what does that exactly look like? Take a look at the photo to the left – it’s an empty seat at my dinner table. 

Set an empty place at your table tonight, then think and talk about how there are millions of people not eating dinner tonight.

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, set an empty plate at your table, or if you followed any of the #HungerAction Months ways, by leaving us a comment below. If you do, we’ll donate a meal to the Texas Food Bank Network! To learn more about our Food First™ program, click here.

First Choice Power Brokers Have ‘Can’-Do Spirit

Mindy and Brian Woods, First Choice Power employees, have collected quite a bit of cans so far!

All month long, we’ve told you about ways to get involved and fight hunger in your community. Earlier this week, we suggested engaging your business partners. Well, we’ve already started doing that – by hosting a canned food drive competition featuring some of our brokers.

The contest began on Sept. 1, and is in conjunction with our Food First™ program. Basically, the broker (a third party partner that sells electricity on a retail electric provider’s behalf) who brings in the largest amount of canned, non-perishable food to their office throughout the month of September will be crowned the winner.

Every week in September, a First Choice Power sales rep collects the cans and tallies the amount each broker has donated to date. So far, there are five brokers participating – and they’ve amassed around 300 cans.

Who will be crowned the winner? Check back around Sept. 30!