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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Davis

The Dish | March 2023


 

January At Just Food

  • Households Served - 2,160

  • Individuals Served - 5,447

  • New Shoppers - 350

  • Number of Volunteer Hours - 1,680.9


 

Menstrual Product Update

Due to the generosity of a few of our supporters, as well as an incredible donation from Pixie Cup, we are now able to offer shoppers menstrual cups as part of our period product supplies.


Existing shoppers are eligible for one cup per person and can make a request using the form on our website. We’re excited to offer these products that are both friendly to the environment and to shopper budgets, as they can be used for 10+ years with proper care.


You can learn more about our Just Basics program here.

 

Shopper Advisory Committee

We want to hear from our shoppers! We’re relaunching our “Shopper Advisory Committee” and we’d love to have your input. If you are a current Just Food shopper and are interested in serving on this committee, to provide input, insights, feedback, and general comments about the services Just Food provides, and opportunities for improvement, please email our Executive Director, Brett, at brett@justfoodks.org.


 

Volunteer Appreciation

At the end of January, we held a celebration to thank our volunteers. We’re grateful for all our volunteers each and every day!

 

What's Cooking at the Chop Shop

We know that many followers are interested in what we’re doing with our new commercial kitchen space on Vermont Street. Tuesday through Thursday each week, our Sourcing & Production Manager, Chetan, and his team of volunteers are hard at work turning raw ingredients into ready-to-eat items for our shoppers. In January, the team produced and packed 4,383 pounds of food for our pantry shelves. If you’re interested in volunteering at the Chop Shop, please email our Volunteer Manager, Julie, at volunteer@justfoodks.org.

 

Around Town with the Cruising Cupboard

No doubt you’ve caught a glimpse of our Cruising Cupboard out around town or in our parking lot. This vehicle is a food pantry on wheels and makes scheduled stops at locations around Lawrence, Lecompton, Baldwin City, and Eudora throughout the week to help get food to our shoppers who have transportation barriers. Shoppers at the Cruising Cupboard use the same points system for items and have full choice of what they would like to take home from their shopping experience. In January, the Cruising Cupboard made stops at:

  • Baldwin City Public Library

  • Lecompton United Methodist Church

  • Lawrence Public Library

  • Starbucks on 23rd Street

  • Dad Perry Park

  • Eudora Public Library

If you see our Community Access Manager, Charles, and his team of volunteers around town, give them a wave!

 

SNAP Reduction Looming

Starting on April 1, 2023, Kansas (as well as 31 other states) is set to reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for thousands of its residents. This change will affect around 79,000 households, causing a significant reduction in their ability to afford groceries and putting a strain on their household budgets. Under the new policy, SNAP recipients in Kansas will see a reduction of about 15% in their monthly benefits, which is equivalent to a loss of about $36 per month for a family of four. This reduction comes at a time when food prices are already rising, making it even more challenging for families to put enough food on the table. The SNAP program is designed to provide low-income families with access to healthy and nutritious food. However, the upcoming benefit reduction will make it even harder for struggling families to meet their basic needs, forcing them to make difficult choices between buying groceries or paying for other essential expenses like rent, utilities, and healthcare. Many families rely on SNAP benefits to make ends meet, and any reduction in benefits can have a severe impact on their daily lives. With less money to spend on groceries, they may have to choose cheaper and less nutritious foods or skip meals altogether, which can have long-term health consequences for both adults and children. Furthermore, this policy change could also have a ripple effect on the local economy, as grocery stores and other food-related businesses will likely experience a decline in sales. This reduction in economic activity could hurt the state's overall economic growth, as well as the job market, as businesses are forced to cut back on their workforce. The upcoming SNAP benefit reduction in Kansas will have far-reaching impacts on thousands of low-income families who rely on these benefits to put food on the table. We anticipate that this reduction in benefits will have a significant impact on the number of people needing to utilize the services of Just Food. In anticipation of this continuing increase in demand, we are asking the community to consider additional financial and food item support to help meet this demand. To make a financial contribution, please visit https://bit.ly/DonateJustFoodKS. To contribute physical food items, you can visit our pantry (1000 E. 11th Street) Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm or look for our donation barrels around the community. Community Barrels can be found at:

  • Lawrence Public Library

  • La Prima Tazza

  • The Merc

  • Hillcrest Styling Center

  • J. Wilson’s

  • Lawrence Humane Society

  • Starbucks on 23rd Street

  • River Rat Skate and Print

  • Uplift Coffee (North Lawrence location)

  • The Bump Store

 

Congress Makes Food Recovery Easier With Food Donation Improvement Act

In early January, President Biden signed the Food Donation Improvement Act, which will significantly reduce food waste across the country. The Food Donation Improvement Act has the potential to provide significant benefits to Just Food. The act allows for increased food donations from businesses who may have previously been hesitant to donate food because of legal liability concerns. The Act provides legal protection to food donors, encouraging them to donate more food. This will help increase the amount of food that is available to Just Food for our repack program, as well as general pantry items. Additionally, the Act can help us save money on food purchases, freeing up resources to be used for other programs and services that support the community. Secondly, the Food Donation Improvement Act can help reduce food waste, which is a major issue across the country. With the act in place, businesses are incentivized to donate surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills. This can help food banks save money on disposal costs and reduce their environmental impact. By working together with businesses, the Act can help us meet the needs of our shoppers while also addressing the issue of food waste in our community. While Just Food has been collecting rescued food from restaurants and grocery stores for several years, this new law will make it easier for additional restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other businesses with food to be rescued to donate it to us. You can read more about the new law in this piece from Food Tank: Congress Passes the Food Donation Improvement Act

 

Budget Recipe of the Month

Pasta e fagioli


Pasta e fagioli is a hearty, comforting Italian soup that is perfect for a cold day. Loaded with beans, pasta, and vegetables, this soup has a rich, savory flavor that will warm you up from the inside out. The combination of flavors and textures make it a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed as a side dish or a main course. Enjoy it with some crusty bread for an even more comforting experience on a cold day. Estimated Cost: $6.71/recipe - $1.12/serving Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli


 

Volunteer of the Month - Kathy Jansen

Kathy Jansen has been an integral part of Just Food's volunteer staff for over three years, since November 2019, and we are thrilled to name her as January's Volunteer of the Month! After she retired, Kathy knew she wanted something to do outside of the home that aligned with her values of social justice and accessibility. She now volunteers three times per week at check-out, greeting shoppers and counting and bagging their groceries. Kathy's favorite part of being a volunteer are the people – from the shoppers to the other volunteers it feels like a big family, seeing familiar faces each week and getting to know people's stories. Her experience at Just Food has opened her eyes to the wide variety of experiences and backgrounds of people who come to shop with us.


Kathy is a voracious reader, mostly of mystery and thriller novels with strong female protagonists. She has a sweetheart rescue dog named Checkers and grandkids who are now all grown up. In her three years at Just Food, Kathy's happily witnessed so many little changes in policy that continually increase access to our services. We are better able to get food into the hands of people who need it because of reliable and committed volunteers like Kathy.


 

Food Justice Partner of the Month - The Merc


This month we would love to share our incredible community partner, The Merc. They have been long-time supporters of Just Food and provide an incredible amount of food for our pantry every month. In 2022, they donated 12,250 pounds over the entire year. That’s a lot of food for one year! Already, in 2023 (as of February 24th), they have donated just under 5,000 pounds of food and they’re poised to completely smash last year’s donation total! We’re so grateful to the team at The Merc for their partnership and support!


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