For the nearly 7000 children in Orange County who rely on free and reduced meals, TABLE’s TABLE@Home food access program reduces their risk for hunger by providing healthy, fresh food they can rely on every week.
What actually goes into a typical bag from TABLE? Where does this food come from? And, what food donations does TABLE need?
We receive these questions often and they are great! So to ensure we utilize our donations to the fullest and that the children we serve receive the best and healthiest food possible, we wanted to let you know what a typical TABLE bag contains and provide answers to these questions.
With every bag we assemble, our goal is to include a variety of protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy, lower sugar and sodium items when possible, and whole grains when available. We have met with nutritionists and follow Nutrition Guidelines that we’ve established for all the food we distribute.
Here is a sample of items that may be found in a TABLE bag:
- 2 granola bars
- 1 oatmeal
- 1 snack
- 1 can tuna
- 1 can soup or canned pasta
- 1 box macaroni and cheese
- 1 1lb bag of uncooked rice or beans
- 1 box of pasta
- 1 boxed milk or juice
- 2 apples
- 1 pepper
- 1 spinach
- 2 asian pears
- 2 onions
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 cauliflower
Our fresh produce comes from a variety of sources including local farmers and community gardens from whom we either purchase produce or receive donations. In addition, we work with local partners such as Farmer Foodshare and Weaver Street Market from whom we purchase seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables.
Now that you know what goes in a TABLE bag, what type of food donations do we need most?
While we have a general list of Most Wanted Food Items there are certain items we tend to use on a more frequent basis. For example, healthy snacks are always great to have, such as individually pre-packaged containers of nuts, Wheat Thins, Goldfish, trail mix, raisins, and fruit/applesauce pouches. Also, one-pound packages of spaghetti or pasta and 15 oz cans of tomato sauce are great to have on hand.
So, what are the different ways someone can donate food to TABLE? And when?
Food donations come from all over the place! Individual community members may bring extra food from their pantry. Local churches, businesses, schools, and neighborhoods host food drives. Through generous monetary donations, fundraisers, and benefit nights, TABLE is also able to purchase non-perishable food when necessary in order to feed even more hungry kids.
When do we accept donations? Any time of the year! But, we do see a greater need for donations in February, March, and April.
If you’re interested in donating food, you can bring it by our office during normal business hours. There is parking in the back. Just ring the doorbell and someone will come assist you with your donation!
What impact do your donations have on the children we serve?
When the bags are delivered and a child opens up their very own bag of healthy food their face lights up with excitement!
In fact, one snowy day a TABLE employee was delivering a bag to a home and the mom answered, then called her elementary-aged son. He was so excited that he came running to the door to see what he got in his bag that week!
Your donations make a direct impact on the children we serve every week. Thank you for helping us achieve our mission and enabling us to deliver hope and smiles to the kids we serve.