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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Davis

The Dish | February 2024

Households Served: 5,376 Individuals Served: 11,987 New Shoppers: 269 Winter Holiday Households: 729 Winter Holiday Individuals: 1,820 Volunteer Hours: 2,027.74 Volunteers: 154 Average Hours / Volunteer: 13.16 Pounds of Recovered Food: 49.591 Pounds of Food Donated by Harvesters: 3,778
This Navy Bean Soup recipe is a hearty and flavorful dish that's perfect for a satisfying meal on a budget. By using dried navy beans instead of canned, you can infuse the soup with more flavor and save money. The recipe also uses ham hock, vegetables, herbs, and spices, all of which are affordable ingredients. Plus, leftovers can be easily stored in the refrigerator or freezer for another day.  Here are some of the budget-friendly tips from the recipe: Use dried navy beans instead of canned beans. Make your own ham broth from the ham hock. Use seasonal vegetables that are on sale. Add herbs and spices to taste instead of using expensive pre-made mixes.  So if you're looking for a delicious and budget-friendly meal, give this Navy Bean Soup recipe a try!  Estimated Cost: $7.32/recipe - $1.22/serving  Recipe: Navy Bean Soup
“Last week, Congress passed a resolution—for the third time—that would keep the government open and fund WIC at its pre-existing level, or $1 billion less than what’s needed to fully fund the program. At least 2 million women and children  are at risk of being turned away by September if WIC is not funded to its full capacity, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If that happens, women and children will likely be put on waiting lists for the first time in over 25 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).”
“Working, middle-class Kansans deserve our support as they feel the pinch between their wages and the rising cost of living,” said Senator Rob Olson, Kansas Senate District 23. “By increasing the standard deduction, this bill lightens the tax burden on individuals and families while ensuring our budget stays balanced.” Immediately axes the state sales tax on groceries, diapers, and feminine hygiene products. This tax plan eliminates the state’s sales tax on groceries and ingredients by April 1 this year instead of waiting until 2025. It would also eliminate the state sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products.”
“It may be cold, but there is loads you can start sowing already! So dig out your seed box, get your boots on and let's sowwww! There's something for everyone in this week's episode, whether you're a leaf-muncher, a herb lover or a comforting carb craver, including a delicious mystery vegetable that you can plant once and harvest forever!”
Chop Shop: 1,464lbs rescued, 3,161 produced  Rescued and redirected food has a large impact on the environmental health of our world. In December 2023 alone, Just Food’s repack and repurpose program, Chop Shop, rescued 1,461lbs of food and produced 3,161lbs of meals to be used in Just Food’s pantry and partner locations. This is equivalent to saving 1.78 tons of CO2eq or 1,981 pounds of coal burned and 168,581 gallons of water or 9,801 showers.  Calculated using ReFED Impact Calculator
We can't keep it a secret any longer, we are excited to announce our newest event concept, The Fond Dinner Series. Kicking off, March 2024, this six-part series will feature an all-star lineup of Lawrence's favorite restaurants. Each chef-led dinner promises a unique culinary experience, as these talented chefs draw inspiration from their childhood memories to create elevated versions of nostalgic dishes. The fond is a culinary term referring to the brown bits at the bottom of the pot when you’re creating a sauce or soup, these are the foundation to flavor in each dish. Similarly these nostalgic recipes from each chef are the foundation of their culinary journey. This series is not just about exquisite food; it's a celebration of creativity, community, and compassion.  We hope you’ll join us on this flavorful journey, where every bite is a chapter of nostalgia and every ticket sold supports Just Food’s mission. A list of our partner restaurants and more information coming to our website and social media soon.
High five to the food waste warriors of USD 497! Every Wednesday and Friday, Lawrence and Free State High Schools step up, donating leftover sandwiches, pizza slices, salad bar veggies, breakfast bites – you name it, they rescue it from going to waste. Last year, their combined donations weighed in at a whopping 13,699 pounds! That's like saving a whole herd of elephants from being hungry.  But the good times keep rolling, because this year they're already at 705 pounds donated (and counting!), just a month into 2024! They're turning leftovers into love, proving that food deserves respect, and ensuring nobody goes hungry in our community.  So a giant "thank you" to USD 497 – you're not just Community Partners, you're Hunger Fighters and Champions of Sustainability! Keep on rocking those donations, teaching us all about waste reduction, and reminding us that kindness and creativity can truly nourish a community. We can't wait to see what delicious difference you make next!
Welcome back Jessica Cooney, our dynamic and passionate Impact Director at Just Food! Jessica's journey with our organization began as an intern during her time at KU, and it's been a joyous reunion to welcome her back into the fold. Her commitment and enthusiasm for our mission have always shone brightly, propelling her from intern to the role of Client Services Manager. Now, as our Impact Director, Jessica takes on the crucial task of overseeing the big picture of Just Food's programs. She's the maestro conducting the symphony of positive change within our community, utilizing data and
insights to tell our compelling story. You’ll recognize some of that data, shared in the Impact Team section, above!  During her time away, Jessica served as the Food Access Program Manager at Cultivate KC, contributing significantly to the growth of food, farms, and community in Kansas City. Now, she's returned to her roots at Just Food, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a heart dedicated to creating a sustainable and healthy local food system for all.  On a Saturday afternoon, you'll find Jessica indulging in her love for home comforts—an ideal day involves sipping on a good coffee (usually from 1900 Barker!), enjoying tasty snacks, and watching a movie with her partner and the lively crew of pets: two goofy dogs and a cat that rules the roost.  With nearly a decade of residence in Lawrence, Jessica has become a true local, cherishing the beauty of the old oaks on her block, especially during those magical weeks in early October when the leaves change colors.  Here's a delightful tidbit about Jessica: she sports a turkey tattoo on her ankle in honor of Just Food, a symbol of her enduring dedication to our organization.  We are immensely grateful for the invaluable work Jessica does for Just Food and the community at large. Her strategic vision, coupled with her genuine love for Lawrence, makes her an invaluable asset to our team. Please join us in extending a warm welcome back to the next time you see her, as she continues to lead Just Food towards a future filled with positive impact and community growth.
As I complete my 7th month as Executive Director, I find myself reflecting on the past year and the power of community. Community collaboration is essential for us in addressing societal challenges and creating meaningful impact within Douglas County. The collective strength of our community working together, amplifies the potential for positive change. When individuals, businesses & community partners join forces to support a common cause, we bring diverse perspectives, skills, and resources to the table. This diversity enhances our organization's ability to tackle complex issues from a variety of angles, ensuring a more comprehensive and effective approach to hunger. Having the ability to collaborate by pooling resources from volunteers,
donors, community partners, etc. we are able to stretch our resources even further, reaching more individuals and families in need and maximizing our impact within our communities and our initiatives.   Without the amazing community we have here in Douglas County, our collective impact would not go as far. In 2023, we were able to assist 18,000+ community members. We were able to do this because of individuals like you, our food recovery partners, donors, volunteers & supporters. Just Food has a great team, and a spectrum of services that are critical to the health, well-being and financial security of our community. I am confident that we will continue to do amazing things for this community in 2024.

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