I am writing on behalf of the entire staff of our food pantry to let you know how grateful we are for Marta’s appearances at our food pantry on Wednesdays.
Her visits began in early June and she patiently and politely greeted the thirty or forty families that were coming at that time. She began by explaining basic food values and she used some of the products we hand out. For instance she talked with some of the families about the benefits of 1% milk over full fat whole milk; and also the benefits of cooking with brown rice instead of refined white rice.
Our numbers have now risen to about 80 families per week, and Marta’s presence is now warmly welcomed by the recipients. We have access to low cost chopped venison meat, something that our mainly latino recipients do not like. Marta made a delicious skillet recipe with the venison and with staples from our pantry -- kidney beans, diced tomatoes, a fresh onion -- and every one who tried it really liked it.
Just before Thanksgiving Marta used some chopped venison once again, along with turkey, to make some quick and easy tacos using a simple recipe. This was also useful because of the turkeys we were handing out the following week. The samples were quickly eaten! And on that day we were handing out frozen venison and we had a huge increase in the number of recipients who wanted to take it home. All sixty packs were taken and we may have been able to hand out more!
We have been offering our recipients choice, which is useful because our clients are around 75% latino and 25% local non latino families. Their “food cultures” are very different. For instance we now offer rice almost every week, as an alternative to potatoes or noodles.
Marta has helped to reinforce our interest in guiding our clients toward healthier choices. For instance, we order fresh loaves of bread once a month, and now we order only whole wheat bread. We are finding that more clients are choosing 1% milk over the full fat.
Marta has made a very positive impact on the choices that our recipients are making. The fact that she is bi-lingual is also an enormous help as most of us volunteers are over sixty years old and do not have a working knowledge of spanish. Additionally, she has helped us move consciously towards offering healthy options for our recipients.
We are very grateful for Marta’s presence, her positive outlook, and her knowledge, and we are grateful to you and your SNAP-ED program and its outreach to our pantry here in Springs. We see her as a member of our team, working hard to give needy families a healthy bag of groceries every week. We hope that she can continue her work with us.
Director of Operations The Springs Food Pantry