Saturday December 8, 2012

A call for healthy food donations

Editor of the Reformer:

This is an invitation for you to join me, my fellow volunteers with the Healthy Communities Coalition, and the volunteer leaders of Project Feed the Thousands to ensure that all people in our region not only have food and drink on their tables in the coming year, but also to make sure that those foods and drinks nourish their bodies and support their health. The types of foods we contribute to Project Feed the Thousands -- or directly to our local food charity of our choice -- can play a major role in breaking the link between poverty and obesity.

Numerous studies document the link between poverty and obesity. According to one report, published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, "There is no question that the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States follow a socioeconomic gradient, such that the burden of disease falls disproportionately on people with limited resources, racial-ethnic minorities, and the poor." The same study points to some of the causes for this relationship including the fact that high-calorie foods composed of refined grains, added sugars, or fats are often the lowest-cost option to the consumer and that poverty and food insecurity are associated with low fruit and vegetable consumption, and lower-quality diets.

This is where we come in. The wonderful folks behind Project Feed the Thousands -- today and for nearly two decades -- have created an amazing system for collecting and distributing food and drinks donated by many generous folks. It’s up to us to fill their tractor trailers -- and the food pantries and, ultimately kitchen tables of our neighbors with limited financial resources -- with donations that support health, not disease. Our tagline for the Healthy Communities Coalition is, in part, "to make the healthy choice the easy choice" (it goes on to say "where people live, work, learn and play"). Through Project Feed the Thousands, you can help "make the healthy choice the easy choice" for all those it will serve.

We’ve checked with the leaders of two of the largest food pantries in the area to find out what "staples" are most needed. We then developed a list of things to look for within those categories. For example, pastas are always in high demand. So, we ask you to contribute whole grain pasta. Whole grains are also a healthy choice for breads, cereals and crackers. Tuna packed in water is healthier than tuna in oil. Look closely at canned fruits to be sure they are packed in juice not syrup. For canned vegetables, look for low-sodium. And, water is always the healthy beverage of choice. Please don’t donate sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages (sports drinks, juice blends, etc.). To see our complete guide, please visit www.meetingwatersymca.org. You’ll find the list on our home page. While there, you can also find out how to contact me if you have any questions.

Steve Fortier,

Meeting Waters YMCA
executive director

and founder and co-coordinator of its Healthy Communities Coalition, Dec. 6

Winter harvest
at our place

Editor of the Reformer:

Over the last few weeks, the Our Place Drop In-Center in Bellows Falls has received thousands of servings of fresh vegetables and fruit -- a most welcome gift, especially with winter coming on. Best of all, this good food has now been processed, bagged, and frozen! Green peppers and kale, apples and butternut squash -- it all looks great, and it will taste great to the hundreds of guests who weekly come to Our Place for breakfast and lunch or obtain food through our food pantry.

Behind this gift lies an amazing nonprofit group called Salvation Farms. Theresa Snow, its founding director, organized dozens of volunteers who gathered on the weekends to slice and dice, puree and chop, bag and label the produce. The veggies came from Harlow Farm in Westminster, where Paul Harlow also provided the workspace and freezer storage area. This winter, as the folks at Our Place enjoy healthy meals that taste of Vermont’s summer sunshine, we will remember Salvation Farms and Paul Harlow and give thanks for their generosity.

John Bohannon,

chairman, Our Place

Board of Directors

Saxtons River, Dec. 1

On editorial about VY protesters

Editor of the Reformer:

I need to respond to your editorial of Nov. 29, "Respect for our legal system," regarding the conviction of the small group of VY protesters.

We as protesters, have only our bodies and our own small voices. What would you have us do? At every turn we are met by Entergy’s deep pockets and corporate spin. When you derided these women for nickel and diming our law enforcement resources, you missed the much bigger cost to the environment and our health. When we live with an aging reactor in our midst. These women only trespassed, it’s not like they did something criminal like say poisoning the Connecticut or lying under oath. The derisive tone of the commentary was disturbing and more to the point, it seemed so small of you.

Lynn Brooks,

Newfane, Nov. 30

VY protesters deserve honor

Editor of the Reformer:

I attended the recent jury trial of the six women who bravely and often entered the Entergy property line to call attention to an old nuclear reactor and its’ irresponsible owner. I was struck by the depth and wisdom of their testimony. They deserve to be honored, not vilified in a scathing Nov. 29 Reformer editorial.

I value the nonviolent actions of anybody who takes a public stand in calling attention to a clear and present danger. An even greater danger is public silence.

Daniel Sicken,

Dummerston, Dec. 3