Tag Archives: hunger action

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.

#HungerAction Day 27: Search for Hunger Advocates on YouTube

I hadn’t even finished typing “Feeding America” in the YouTube search box when the auto text provided me the perfect video match: Feeding America and Matt Damon (see below). Turns out, there are a handful of other celebrities who are involved in the fight against hunger: Taye Diggs, Ana Ortiz, Ben Affleck.

There are several commercials, PSAs and home videos related to ending hunger – this one’s my favorite. It’s Matt Damon playing a man named Steve. In just 31 seconds, he tells a pretty compelling story about hunger, don’t you think?

Which video about hunger is your favorite?

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, watched a video about hunger on YouTube.com, 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 26: Engage Your Business Partners About Hunger

Thanks to the Aubrey Chamber of Commerce for helping out with a canned food drive!

By now you’ve probably told your family and friends about how you’ve taken our Hunger Action Month pledge to start fighting hunger in your area. Now, it’s time to tell your business partners.

We created a “road show” to educate some of our chamber partners – in Aubrey, Pilot Point, McAllen, Edinburg, Killeen, Mission, Temple and Belton – about our Food First™ program. We hosted canned food drives and matched donations to encourage our partners to help fight hunger in their communities.

One of our hunger advocates, Sonia, took our road show to the next level: she challenged three of the chambers to a competition to see who could bring in the most canned food. (We hear it’s close right now between Edinburg, McAllen and Mission!) The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley will be announcing a winner at the end of the month.

It’s always fun to add a little competition to a good cause, right?

Join us. Challenge your business partners to get involved in Hunger Action Month.

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, worked with business partners to fight 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 25: Change Your Facebook Status to Reflect Hunger Action Month

Let your friends and family know how you're fighting hunger by posting about it on Facebook!

I’m going to throw it out there, Facebook is probably the most popular communication tool you have with your friends and family. Am I right?

Well, then, what better way to talk about hunger than to post a status update on your Facebook page showing that you are joining the fight against hunger in Texas!

Here’s a suggested update: “I’m fighting domestic hunger during Hunger Action Month. Find out how you can, too, by clicking here: http://www.firstchoicepower.com/blog/first-choice-power-is-taking-on-hungeraction-month-how-you-can-join-2011-08.”

Happy posting!

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, changed your Facebook status to reflect Hunger Action Month, 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 24: Sign Up for Your Food Bank’s Newsletter

Signing up for your local food bank's e-newsletter is a great way to stay informed!

Being a hunger advocate means staying informed. One easy way to do that is to sign up for your food bank’s newsletter.

With one click from the homepage on the “Stay Informed” link, I added my e-mail address and signed up for the Tarrant Area Food Bank’s free electronic newsletter.

Join me today, on day 24 of Hunger Action Month, in learning about the face of hunger in your community by signing up for your food bank’s newsletter. See who is going hungry in your community and how you can help with your time, dollars and voice!

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, signed up for your food bank’s newsletter, 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 23: Send an email to your friends about Hunger Action Month

This is an easy one! Simply share how you are joining us in our fight against hunger in Texas with your friends and family. Below is the email that I sent to dozens of friends:

“Dear Friends,

As many of you may know, I’ve been working on First Choice Power’s Food First™ initiative to provide 1 million meals to Texans in need.

New statistics came out earlier this month and Texas remains the second worst state when it comes to hunger in this country.

That’s unacceptable.

I’m proud that my company is taking steps to help fight hunger.

You can, too.

This month – Hunger Action Month – I’m blogging about 30 ways in 30 days to get involved in your community. Not only does this give you 30 ways to get involved but also by commenting, liking or sharing each post, you are helping fight hunger. For each like, share or comment on the blog, we’ll donate a meal to the Texas Food Bank Network.

One meal at a time, we can make a difference.

Thank you for joining me in this important fight.

Love,
Catherine”

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, sent an email to friends about Hunger Action Month, 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 22: Educate Yourself About Hunger in your Community

 
 

First Choice Power is proud to sponsor the first-ever, county-by-county “Hunger Gap Report,” in partnership with the Texas Food Bank Network and Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative.

The “Hunger by the Numbers: A Blueprint for Ending Hunger in Texas” includes a hunger scorecard for each of the 254 counties of Texas, a state which ranks second in the nation for food insecurity. The report provides a road map with resources for funding and programs to fight at a local, statewide and national level.

According to the USDA, 18.8 percent of Texas households, or one in five were at risk of hunger between 2008 and 2010.

Here are a few examples of how hunger reaches every area of the state:

  • 18 percent are food insecure in Harris County, home to the fourth largest city in the nation
  • 24 percent are food insecure in Hidalgo County, the gateway to Mexico
  • 16 percent are food insecure in Travis County, where state leaders meet to discuss how to combat these issues
  • Montgomery County, home to The Woodlands and some of the state’s most affluent zip codes, has a food insecurity rate of 15 percent, meaning one in seven residents are at risk of hunger 

Educate yourself on hunger in YOUR backyard. For me, it is Tarrant County, where 17 percent of residents are food insecure. That’s 291,240 neighbors that don’t know where their next meal is coming from! Unacceptable.

Find your county’s scorecard, educate yourself and start educating others. Thanks for being an advocate for helping fight hunger in YOUR community.

Learn more: http://www.firstchoicepower.com/about-us/press-releases/09072011-texas-hunger-report.aspx

Editor’s note: Let us know if you, like Catherine, educated yourself about 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.