My friends and I teamed up last fall to create the Hottest Chefs of the Triangle Calendar. This inaugural calendar was a creative and fun way to highlight the many talented chefs we have here in the Triangle area of North Carolina. As my “calendar girls” and I are all involved in the food and hospitality industry, we wanted to give the profits back to a meaningful cause to all of us. We chose the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (FBCENC from here on out, since it’s such a long name!) because they help so many of our neighbors and families here locally and are passionate about making sure #NoOneGoesHungry.
As we’re in the heart of National Nutrition Month, the FBCENC asked for a guest post to showcase how their fundamental mission of #NoOneGoesHungry really is rooted in providing nutritious, wholesome ingredients to families across their 34 county service area. Historically speaking, many people would often only list dry pantry items/canned goods as the things being donated and dispersed by a food bank. While these food items are incredibly important in helping to alleviate the issue of hunger, more light has been shed on the depth of many food bank programs, including the FBCENC. According to the FBCENC, the amount of food they distribute that falls under “dry goods” is only 40%. Produce, refrigerated goods, frozen foods and frozen meats compromise 59% of all the food dispersed to their clients.
The FBCENC celebrates National Nutrition Month’s theme of “Put Your Best Fork Forward” with its more than 64 million pounds of food donated last year alone. With 40% of that food being produce and lean protein, they’re changing the public conception of ingredients a food bank can provide for their clients. Their new distribution facility in Raleigh also offers over 15,000 square feet of refrigerated space to house perishable goods before being delivered to those in need.
The FBCENC is striving to provide both healthy food and nutrition education to their clients by collaborating with external partners, including registered dietitians and chefs. As a registered dietitian and chef myself, I often work with clients who have ready access to food – but many of our neighbors are struggling to find out where the food for their next meal is coming from. As the FBCENC moves forward in continuing to advocate their #NoOneGoesHungry campaign, I am proud to be involved in helping to spread the news and awareness of their mission, both as a Social Media Ambassador and through the Hottest Chefs of the Triangle Calendar. Take a look at your local food bank’s website to see how you can get involved or check out FBCENC’s site as a starting point.