March is National Nutrition Month®. So it's the perfect time for me to get back on track with blogging for you all and also share something that is very important to me.
Long before I knew I wanted to become a dietitian, I volunteered at food pantries because at least I knew I wanted to help address the widespread issue of food insecurity and hunger in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 49 million Americans (about 16 million of those are children) live in food insecure households. About 62% of these households use one of these three federal assistance programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) (1). However, that still leaves a lot of people without assistance in securing food!
Back in November, once I finally felt settled in my new position at work and able to start volunteering once more, I joined a project co-run by New York Cares and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Citymeals-on-Wheels provides meals seven days a week for homebound older adults, and this particular project delivers meals to participants belonging to three senior centers in Brooklyn, New York (my home for the past seven years).
When I went to sign up again in January, I jumped on the opportunity to lead this project for the year, because I had such a good experience in November and believe this is a vital resource for members of the community. On the first Saturday of each month, my team of New York Cares volunteers meets at Borinquen Plaza Senior Center to package lunches that get distributed later in the week. Depending on how many volunteers we have, we make about 800-1500 packages each time!
Volunteering has so many benefits. Aside from the core purpose of helping to provide nourishment to those in need, you get to meet the most incredible people from all over the country with all sorts of interests and personalities. Even though you are all strangers, you unite and create a hard working team fully focused on the same goal. It's pretty amazing.
If any of you are interested in volunteering, especially for this cause, check out both of these resources as each of them offers numerous opportunities to get involved. And if preparing meals doesn't catch your interest, New York Cares has an array of volunteer opportunities ranging from tutoring children, cleaning up and landscaping local parks, teaching computer skills, leading arts and crafts projects, assisting people with resumes and job applications, and much more.
If you don't have any extra time at this moment and still want to contribute to the cause, here is a link for making a donation to Citymeals-on-Wheels: https://www.citymeals.org/support-us.
Thanks for reading about one of my passions! I would love to hear about yours!