Amplifying Good For a Cause | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014 10:03

Amplifying Good For a Cause

The population of New Jersey is 8.9 million. Did you know it is the most densely populated state in the US? Even more surprising and very disconcerting is that 1.2 million of that population is food insecure. Hunger is a real issue that is right at our doorstep. It is not a particularly glamorous food issue to discuss, but it is pertinent right now. Being food insecure doesn’t necessarily mean starving; it means not always knowing where your next meal is coming from.

 

An even harder fact to grasp is this quote taken from FeedingAmerica.com:

“According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2012, 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.”

This is an extremely sad, but true reality that we are experiencing in right now. Luckily, this issue is being addressed on a number of levels:

  • Policy advocates are fighting to offer universal breakfast to students in public schools to help alleviate the stress of another meal for the day.  Universal breakfast would reduce the stigma attached to receiving free meals and increase participation which would also increase overall academic performance.
  • Community gardening organizations are growing fresh produce to donate or sell at low cost to their fellow neighbors.
  • Hunger activists are calling attention to the issue and waking up the general population to the silent struggle of hunger.
  • Food banks collect and distribute food to the correct organizations that will serve/distribute the food to the people who need it most.

There are so many ways in which people and organizations can offer assistance. Some are more traditional routes that have been around since the 60’s, like food banks. Others are old ideas evolved into new practices, such as finding ways to feed a community with food grown from a community garden. We have recently partnered with an organization called Amp Your Good that falls into that second category.

Amp Your Good is an online market where you can “purchase” goods, in this case, food for the hungry, from a website and they then deliver those goods to those who need it most. The website has a few campaigns going on at once, but Curbing Hunger is the one that inspired this blog.

This is how it works:

1. An organization sets up an online food drive.

2. They set goals, for example, 2500 lbs of food.

3. They set a date for when to end the food drive.

4. They request certain items that their organization is lacking. Items can fall into 1 of 4 categories: Protein, Daily Staples, Snacks, and PRODUCE! This is the greatest part about this online donation service – fresh produce can be donated to food pantries because everything gets delivered at the same time, after the end date.

5. Amp Your Good orders the food from their supplier and delivery it right to the organization.

Traditionally, food that’s donated to a food drive usually comes in the form of a can. It’s called a “food pantry”, because the items are pantry items – items that are meant to have a long shelf live. Fresh produce and other perishable foods are rarely donated because of the worry that it might spoil before someone can receive the item. This online donation system allows people to choose which items their community desires and allows you to purchase them in an online space.

If you’ve ever seen a crowd funding website like Kickstart.com or IndieGoGo.com, you can get an idea of what an organizations donation page looks like. Each organization has their own page and received the amount that has been donated to them regardless of whether or not they reached their goal.

View the image below example to see just how simple the donation process is! 

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 3.54.21 PM

While Amp Your God is currently focused on the northeast region, specifically the NY/NJ/Philadephia area, it operates nationally is expanding with the support of people like you! People are hungry all over the US and ideas like this one can have a huge impact, if only for one family.

Please click here to learn more about Amp Your Good!

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