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    UFCW Blog

    Food Access

October 20, 2017

National Food Bank Week

This week is National Food Bank Week, a reminder to start thinking about the ways we can help others as the holiday season approaches. Food banks are, sadly, an all too necessary and common feature of life in the United States today, where low wages leave too many families forced to choose between paying bills and buying groceries.

Every human being has a fundamental right to be free from hunger and the right to adequate food. That means having enough money to buy food, but also having access to grocery stores and the time and resources to cook healthy meals. Nutritious food can be expensive, making a balanced diet a luxury for many. Loss of a job, a family tragedy, poor health, or an accident can leave anyone unsure of where the next meal is coming from.

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone.

In 2016, in partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive, UFCW members helped break a Guinness World Record—80 million pounds of food collected for the largest single day food drive in world history.

Thank you to all the volunteers and staff of the food banks who so many depend on. By working together, we know we can get rid of hunger in our communities.

 

May 18, 2017

UFCW Members, Locals, and Volunteers Collect Thousands of Pounds of Food for 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

In the weeks and days leading up to Saturday, May 13, the day of the National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, UFCW members and locals volunteered at events and donated non-perishable food items to help America’s families put food on their tables.

Standing by our values and belief that no hard-working man or woman should struggle alone, UFCW members turned out in droves as part of our partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers on the day of the food drive as well, and helped collect thousands of pounds of food to help “stamp out hunger.”

Below is a photo collection of some of the many UFCW locals, members, and staff that played a role in the food drive this year:

April 13, 2017

Let’s top 2016’s world record for the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive!

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone. Which is why we work hard for those in need, supporting our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the food drive, and we want to make this a year for the history books. We hope to top last year’s Guinness World Record—80 million pounds of food collected for the largest single day food drive in world history. Together, we know we can do it, one bag at a time.

Here’s how:

  1. FILL A BAG with non-perishable food items. (See list below.)
  2. TAKE A PIC AND POST IT! Please Tweet it or put it on Facebook with the hashtag #StampOutHunger – and please tag @UFCW and @NALC.
  3. PUT OUT YOUR BAG on May 13th before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. 

That’s it! It’s so easy – please help us Stamp Out Hunger and put food on shelves in our local food banks.

What to Put in Your Bag 

Fill your UFCW-provided Stamp Out Hunger paper bag with*:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta or spaghetti sauce
  • Rice
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned meals (soup, chili, pasta)
  • 100% juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned protein (chicken, tuna, turkey)
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal

*NOTE: DO NOT put in frozen food, homemade food, expired food, or home canned items – or anything in glass containers.

March 3, 2017

“Put Your Best Fork Forward” This National Nutrition Month

Spring is just around and the corner, making March the perfect time of year to refocus on eating right, getting healthy, and chasing away those winter blues. We know how hard it can be to balance work with all the demands of your life and still stay focused on your nutrition, but eating healthier foods doesn’t have to be a chore. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing tips with you to make it easier to stay excited and engaged, and help get you on track to a better you and a better life.


Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Plan what you’re going to eat

Before you head for the grocery store, plan your meals and snacks for the week. Review recipes for what ingredients are needed. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, try checking what’s on sale in the produce and meat departments and look up recipes that feature those ingredients.

When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy extra items that are not on it.

Decide how much to make

Making a large batch by doubling a recipe is an easy way to save time in the kitchen and try to stretch your budget even further. Extra portions can be used for lunches or meals later in the week, or freeze leftovers in individual containers for future use on nights when you don’t have time to cook. Plus buying larger quantities of each ingredient can help you save money by taking advantage of cheaper bulk prices.

Shop for foods that are in season

Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to get and may be a lot less expensive. Just remember that some fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last long. Buy small amounts at a time to avoid having to throw away spoiled produce.

Try canned or frozen produce

At certain times of the year, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables may be less expensive than fresh. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.

Focus on nutritious, low-cost foods

Certain foods tend to be less expensive, so you can make the most of your food dollars by finding recipes that use the following ingredients: beans, peas, and lentils; sweet or white potatoes; eggs; peanut butter; canned salmon, tuna or crabmeat; grains such as oats, brown rice, barley or quinoa; and frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.

Watch portion sizes

Eating too much of even lower cost foods and beverages can add up to extra dollars and calories. Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses to help keep portions under control. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with whole grains and lean meat, poultry, seafood or beans. This is an easy way to eat a balanced meal while controlling portions and cost. To complete the meal, add a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk or a serving of fat-free yogurt for dessert.

 

Make your own healthy snacks

Convenience costs money, so many snacks, even healthy ones, usually cost more when sold individually. Make your own snacks by purchasing large tubs of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and dividing them into one-cup containers. For trail mix, combine nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or cereal; store small portions in airtight containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less compared to prepackaged items.

Cook more, eat out less

Many foods prepared at home are cheaper and more nutritious. Also, convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant rice or oatmeal will cost you more than if you make them from scratch. Go back to basics and find a few simple and healthy recipes that your family enjoys.

November 1, 2016

Local 1208 and United Way Partner to Provide Hurricane Matthew Relief to Members and Their Families

local-1208-and-united-way-relief-effort

Last month, UFCW Local 1208 partnered with United Way of Robeson County to distribute much needed food to members across southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina who are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. The event, which was held at the Family Dollar in Lumberton, provided assistance to over 150 workers and their families. Members of UFCW Local 204, along with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina and corporate partners like Kroger and Kellogg’s, also donated items to help Local 1208 members and their families.

Stephanie Franklin, a member of Local 1208 who has worked at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel for more than 11 years and lives in Lumberton, was one of the recipients.

“The whole area was affected by Hurricane Matthew,” Franklin said. “I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life, and this was one of the worst storms I’ve seen. My son is four years old, and we were stuck in our trailer for two days during the storm and we didn’t have enough food or water. Our trailer is up high, but the bathroom ceiling caved in a little bit and the water was still up to my waist.”

“The relief effort meant a lot and shows that Local 1208 is there for you. I appreciate everything they gave me and my son,” Franklin said. “We’re slowly getting back to normal.”

“Hurricane Matthew brought incredible hardship to our friends and neighbors, and it is times like these that we must come together to help those in need” said Ella Ellerbe, who has worked in packaging at Smithfield for ten years. “Our union family, working with our partners, are proud to help our local members and their families get the food assistance they need. We’re committed to doing all that we can to help our members recover from this storm because no hard-working family should ever have to struggle alone.”

UFCW Local 1208 worked with Smithfield Foods to ensure that everyone at the plant in Tar Heel received a full week’s pay when Hurricane Matthew struck, regardless of actual time on the job. Members of Local 1208 have contributed more than $10,000 to United Way of Robeson County to help their community recover from Hurricane Matthew.

October 3, 2016

“It takes six ponytails to create one wig, so we helped a lot of people.”

Adapted from UFCW Local 1428

Monica Jimenez, a pharmacy technician and Local 1428 union steward at Rite Aid, loves helping others. At her job she helps patients fill their prescriptions and in her spare time she runs races to fund research to cure diseases.

She began her career at a laboratory, but after three years she wanted a change and applied at Rite Aid.

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“What I like about Rite Aid is that the people in the store come together,” Jimenez said. “We treat each other like family, so going to work doesn’t feel like going to a workplace.”

Jimenez thought she had it all: a loving husband in Earl, two daughters, Vanessa and Emily, and a job she loved. But an earthquake in 2012 taught her she needed something more: to help the less fortunate.

“I felt like I needed to make each day count, so I signed up for a 5K race and then another one and then another one,” she said.

Her volunteering spirit quickly spread among her family and friends. Her daughters joined her in races and then her co-workers followed suit.

At work, Jimenez encouraged patients to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits children’s hospitals.

“When customers check out at Rite Aid, they are occasionally asked to donate $1 so they can write their names on balloon cards that are displayed in our store,” Jimenez said. “Our store raised the most funds for the Children’s Miracle Network, so we were invited to an event to meet the kids our donations helped.”

Last year, Jimenez and her sister decided to grow their hair out and donate their ponytails to Locks of Love, an organization that creates wigs for people who lose their hair while having chemotherapy.

“People asked me why my hair and my sister’s hair was getting so long,” Jimenez said. “We told people it was for Locks of Love and we got so many people who wanted to help that I needed a place to host an event to cut people’s hair.”

UFCW Local 1428 stepped up and offered its auditorium. By the end of the night, Jimenez and her sister collected 85 ponytails for Locks of Love.

“That night was so special,” Jimenez said. “It takes six ponytails to create one wig, so we helped a lot of people that night.”

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Monica Jimenez with other volunteers at 2014’s Big Sunday event, which collected and sorted canned goods to feed more than 1,000 families during the holidays.

Monica Jimenez with other volunteers at 2014’s Big Sunday event, which collected and sorted canned goods to feed more than 1,000 families during the holidays.

Monica received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for her work in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless count in January 2016.

Monica received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for her work in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless count in January 2016.

Monica Jimenez gets her hair cut for Locks of Love

Monica Jimenez gets her hair cut for Locks of Love

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

June 1, 2016

Stamp Out Hunger Recap

This year, UFCW members and locals played an active role in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The following photos are just a a fraction of the astounding donations of non-perishable food and time volunteered by UFCW folks in their communities. (Click to advance)

Stamp Out Hunger

May 19, 2016

Members of Congress Join UFCW to Stamp Out Hunger

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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.

This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.

UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.

UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.

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