Monday, June 11, 2012

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program & The Food Bank

In the SPOTLIGHT this month -
                          NUTRITION SERVICES The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a unique federal/state and public/private effort. The USDA purchases specific nutrient-rich foods at wholesale prices for distribution. Sta...te agencies such as the Departments of Health, Agriculture or Education provide administration and over-sight; contracting with community and faith-based organizations to warehouse and distribute food, certify eligibility and educate participants. This unique collaboration reaches even homebound seniors with vital nutrition.
CSFP food packages are designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of these vulnerable people and include fruits and vegetables, juices, meats, fish, peanut butter, cereals and grain products, cheese and other dairy products. The foods provided are designed to provide protein, calcium, iron and Vitamins A and C. CSFP helps assist in providing proper nutrition for seniors and promotes health, treats chronic diseases, decreases length of hospital stays and saves health care dollars. Hunger increases their risk of stroke, exacerbates pre-existing ill health conditions, limits the efficiency of many prescription drugs and may affect brain chemistry, increasing the incidence of depression and isolation (The National Council on Aging, 2005).
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is our nation’s first food assistance effort designed to provide protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The USDA food package average cost is $15 each. The retail value of each package is approximately $50.
CSFP was created by Congress to address hunger in specific population groups in a way that mutually promotes agriculture policy and alleviates hunger through the use of food commodities acquired under government farm supports. CSFP is an important outlet for the food commodities supported under various farm programs.
CSFP seniors responded to a national survey conducted by the National CSFP Association to determine whether seniors make food choices based on personal preference, nutrition knowledge or on economic conditions. The most notable data was [1] only one in four seniors on CSFP are simultaneously accessing food stamps; [2] over 60% of seniors use money for medical bills, not food; [3] over 50% of seniors said they ran out of food during the month; and [4] households of one who responded, more than half reported an income of less than $750 a month, of those in a household of two, more than half reported an income of less than $2,000 a month.
CSFP provides federal commodity food, nutrition education, and related services to pregnant and post-partum women, children under 6 (exclusive of WIC recipients) and seniors 60 and over each month who are at nutritional risk due to low income and poor diet. 90% of participants are seniors. Seven new states were granted approval for funding in fiscal year 2010. These new states are Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Utah. The Program is currently available in 39 states, 2 Indian Tribal Organizations, and the District of Columbia.
In addition to federal resources, CSFP is supported at the community level by three million volunteer hours, hundreds of non-profit and faith-based organizations, and locally raised resources. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program reaches seniors in their homes and gathering places, with dignity and uncomplicated paperwork and with specific food designed to supplement their diet.

Community Action Partnership of Mid Nebraska operates the Mid Nebraska Food Bank. The Food Bank is a non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate hunger through the collection of donated food and household products and the distribution of these items to charities and organizations that help people in need. The Mid-Nebraska Food Bank addresses the emergency food needs in 29 counties in central and western Nebraska. We collect food and paper items from donations from individuals such as manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. These are items that would otherwise be thrown away because of mislabeling, overstock, and/or discounted items. Thanks to the Food Bank and the 125 agencies it serves, we are able to help individuals get the assistance they need to help feed families in crisis. Client agencies, such as food pantries, meal providers, emergency shelters, low-income child care centers, senior citizen programs, and rehab centers are all examples of these partner agencies that benefit from the donations from those able to give.
The Food Bank provides a centrally located facility for collecting and distributing the merchandise. The donors can call to offer a donation and know that it will be distributed where it is needed most. Mid-Nebraska Food Bank staff are trained and equipped to handle food according to food industry standards. We operate under a permit issued by the Nebraska Department of Health and as a secondary Distribution Organization inspected by the Nebraska Food Bank Network according to the guidelines established by Feeding America. Feeding America is a national network of Food Banks from which we receive necessary training and technical assistance, as well as about 80% of our annual food donations. The Food Bank also collects food locally through food drives and from local food manufacturers, food distributors and grocery stores.
The Mid Nebraska Food Bank operates a Food Rescue Program with a reefer truck that was obtained through a grant from Feeding America. For the past three years we pick up donations of all types of foods, including frozen foods, from donors such as Wal-Mart and other grocery stores. We make this food available to all Food Bank agencies. We also donate these food items to CSFP clients and to senior housing authorities. During the first six months of this fiscal year, the Mid Nebraska Food Bank donated over 167,000 pounds of food to individuals.

CSFP CLINICS FOR JUNE June 5 Cozad, Lexington
June 7 Arapahoe, Cambridge, Curtis
June 12 Clay Center, Superior, Red Cloud, Franklin
June 21 McCook, Benkelman
June 26 Kearney

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