FOOD IS…

It’s an interesting phrase. Food doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone – particularly during this tough year.

What visions, feelings, and emotions does “food is…” evoke for you?

For some, food is caring, like a reheatable meal for a niece who just had a baby or a bowl of homemade chicken soup to ease a head cold. For you, maybe food is comfort, like after a drizzly fall day, and all you want is a melty grilled cheese sandwich while wrapped up in a blanket.

For others, like Fred, food is celebration: A three-scoop ice cream sundae for an improved report card. A full-plate reception after a wedding ceremony. The first dinner in a new home.

At the Food Bank of South Jersey, we’re constantly thinking about food – how to acquire it, how to get it to our partners and out into our communities, and how to show our neighbors how to use it to thrive.

For us, food is nourishment. Eating food is the act of giving your body the nutrients it needs to be active, healthy, and strong. Our Health & Wellness team regularly offers lessons like Mindful Eating, which reminds us that we should slow down, be purposeful, and put good food in these incredible – yet delicate – machines we all move around in.

These classes also help us to know that food is medicine. Food, particularly certain healthy foods, can help meet the specific needs of someone living with health issues. It can reduce the risk of heart disease and lessen the reliance on prescriptions for diabetics. Additionally, research has shown that healthy food choices can help stabilize your mood and keep depression at bay.

Food should also be fun and enjoyable. Especially when shared with loved ones, food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Breaking bread with our chosen family allows us to share in each other’s days as well as past experiences. Eating together bonds us and allows us to appreciate meals made with love.

Not everyone has that opportunity, though. For too many neighbors, food is far away. Food is scarce. Or entirely unattainable. Food is the choice between heat for the winter months ahead or buying needed medication.

But that’s why the Food Bank of South Jersey is here. Why our Food Equity team works to create access to affordable, quality food and other essential resources throughout our region. Why our classes teach us to cook healthily, maximize food assets, and be more mindful of how we consume food. Why we’re on this mission to end hunger in South Jersey.

Food? Food is truly powerful. Food is care and comfort and joy and nourishment and celebration. And that’s what you are to us. Thanks for being with us for another year, food bank family.

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