Local Matters puts healthful meals in reach

Day by Day
Local Matters puts healthful meals in reach

By LIZ THOMPSON
December 31, 2018
This Week News

 “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This old adage is attributed to many different cultures. Unfortunately, food insecurity, including lack of access to fresh food, is real for too many.

During the holidays, many of us have reached for one too many sweets and second helpings of all kinds of food. Dieting becomes a New Year’s resolution.

We should be mindful of our diet, not dieting, throughout our lives. No matter our age, diseases such as Type 2 diabetes might plague us in part due to poor food choices. If we never learned how to prepare foods healthfully or have no available fresh food, it complicates overall health.

Through the years, I learned how to love cooking from scratch using basic foods. I have been fortunate to have a garden for many years.

Not everyone has these opportunities. That is where Local Matters comes in.

In 2005, co-founders Michael Jones and Noreen Warnock were looking for answers to big questions about our food system. They wanted to keep our children healthier and ensure that everyone had access to healthful and affordable food.

Jones is a chef. When he and his wife were expecting their first child, he read an article that said children of his child’s generation would be the first whose life expectancy would be shorter than their parents’.

When he learned that food was the root of the problem, he was called to action.

Warnock grew up in a low-income family that struggled to make ends meet. As a mother of two who understood the role food played in raising a healthy family on a budget, she advocated for organic food on local grocery-store shelves. She wanted everyone to have equal access to healthful foods.

Warnock’s work with community organizations led to the creation of the Greater Columbus Foodshed Project. This project helped create more than 20 community gardens.

These two founders’ visions became Local Matters in 2008.

The 20 staff members and 200 active volunteers work with families to teach them how to shop, plan and prepare healthful foods on a budget.

Local Matters, based in south Columbus (Ohio), has partnered with schools, hospitals, Maryhaven Women’s Center, Mount Carmel College of Nursing and food-access partners to reach those in need.

“Food is pivotal in health. Dietary choices can promote recovery from disease, worsen chronic illness and influence day-to-day energy levels,” said Kelsey Sicker, a member of the Ohio State University College of Medicine’s class of 2019. My involvement with Local Matters has given me comfort in discussing food and cooking, particularly in a relatable way for patients to readily apply to daily life.”

This year, Local Matters will launch Fresh Stand. It is an affordable, mobile, fruit-and-vegetable stand designed to provide food access.

It will partner with corner stores to sell fresh produce that, when paired with the store’s shelf-stable items such as rice, pasta, flour, sugar and oil, will allow customers to create a whole, healthful and affordable meal.

There will be hands-on demonstrations to show how to simplify food-preparation habits, build new skills and give people confidence to create a delicious meal.

Fresh Stand will work with leadership at churches and other places of worship to sell produce through Second Sundays, during which the Fresh Stand will sell produce and meal bags directly to residents on a monthly basis.

Local Matters will sell produce through Fresh Stand at schools, recreation centers and community growing spaces, allowing students and families to purchase meal ingredients after school hours.

We can make a personal difference with our own choices and teaching our children.

Learn more by calling Local Matters at 614-263-5662, emailing info@ local-matters.org or reading about what its volunteers and staff are doing at local-matters.org.

 

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No present like time, Bexley students learn

 

Day by Day:
No present like time, Bexley students learn

By LIZ THOMPSON

Dec 3, 2018
This Week Community News

One of the best gifts we can give someone is time.

In October, 172 Bexley (Ohio) eighth-graders heard from speakers about community projects to help them choose how to serve their town with 15 hours of service.

Crystal Carley is the seventh- and eighth-grade language-arts teacher and community-project manager for Bexley City Schools.

“I asked speakers to talk about how they married their interests with a need in their community,” Carley said. “Students listened attentively and asked relevant questions that helped them understand possible avenues for service for their project.”

Speakers included Tim White with Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Taylor Nolan with She Has a Name, whose mission is to fight human trafficking.

Student Maya Murray was surprised to hear about human trafficking in central Ohio.

“I already knew what it was but things like that are hard to think about,” she said. “As a teen, the world will soon be in our care and so it is important that we take action to stop things like this and that our parents also inform us so we can protect ourselves and help other teens … escape the abuse.”

Speakers who are parents of students included Tricia Keels, Laura Robertson-Boyd, Monique Lampke and Deborah Grayson.

Keels started Souper Heroes. The organization holds dinners across the city from October through May during which volunteers serve homemade soups to guests. Donations benefit hunger-relief organizations.

Lampke spoke on the Make-A-Wish Foundation; Grayson talked about teaching English to refugees.

“The project that interested me the most was the one with the refugees,” student Keira Murray said. “I like anything that helps with the community but especially something more direct where we can help our community and get to know the people we are helping.

“I love being able to meet and work with people and think it is especially important to hear directly from them and what their experiences are. To me, the ‘unity’ part in (the word) community is very important.”

Keira said she believes volunteering is a way to get to know more people and build stronger bonds.

“We can reach out to people and with time they might reach back,” Keira said, “and then together we will be able to make a change.”

The students also learned about the Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army. Bexley City Schools staff member Sandi Hoover talked about mission trips to Guatemala.

Meagan Warren, a sophomore and founder of Books for Bedtime, shared about her nonprofit organization and her efforts to promote literacy.

Student Evelyn Holzhall said she was surprised there were so many charities in the heart of town. She was interested in learning about Grayson’s work with immigrants.

She learned female immigrants and members of the charity meet to talk in English about their lives and culture.

“Grayson told us one time they cooked a recipe one of the women brought in after they put it into English,” Evelyn said. “Another day, they celebrated the feast of Ramadan. The immigrant families were so welcoming they even let the charity workers into their home for the feast.”

Evelyn said she was glad to learn about the efforts, but in the end, she chose to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I had known of it since I was 6, and it holds a place deep in my heart,” she said. “I just think it is awful for a kid to die of sickness at such a young age, but even more awful for their dreams to never come true.”

To Evelyn, volunteering assists the charities to help those in need, but it also ties her community together.

“If you give time out of your day to help members of our own community … our community would be so close and always caring for one another, and to me, that’s just awesome.”

Consider adding time to your gift list. These teens did with genuine enthusiasm.