Vegetarian Option At FoodBanks? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-14-2013, 02:03 PM
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So I occasionally volunteer at a local foodbank. The other day a vegetarian couple walked in and my ears perked up. They made it clear that they didn't eat any meat or fish. I was afraid for a minute, of what to do. I let the two other volunteer ladies talk to them . THEY HANDLED THEM COMPLETELY WRONG!!! The lady told him "well, we give you a bag, and if you don't want some of the items, you can take them out and put them back here." I felt SO bad for them. I was debating whether to step in or not........sorry guys, I was in that mentality where you don't know if you're help would be recieved or you don't want to overstep your boundaries. I'm a bagger, so I COULD HAVE made him a special bag. I mentally kicked myself when they left with their bags, not even bothering to pick stuff out I think. They were VERY polite and they probably didn't want to ask us for different items because they might have thought they would be seen as ungrateful!! So wrong!! :(  Even worse, the other lady had suspicions about them and thought something was up with them (we have people coming in to scam us sometimes). Then I said, well, he could just be vegetarian....and she was like "ohhhh o.O" the other volunteer was like "Oh yeah, it says vegetarian on his identification card."   *facepalm myself*

 

So I felt awful for most of the day afterward. At least I know now that next time I would step in. I have GOT TO STOP letting people who I think "should" know what they are doing, handle things that I know I could handle way better. I could have made him a special bag, easy, and been a lot more friendly about it too.

 

So anyway, my dad is going to a meeting for the foodbank today and I thought it would be a good idea to put out to them that we should have vegetarian bags available. We need to EDUCATE the volunteers that some people are vegetarian, what NOT to put in those bags, and exactly what to put in them.

 

So far, I think this might only work locally for my small food bank, but I'm hoping if I just start to put it out there, it may spread and other food banks might put out signs and be more aware of special dietary needs.

 

I have made a sort of help sheet based on what I think should be in those bags. I would like some of your guys help, especially if you have succeeded in making changes to get vegetarian options available where there previously weren't any, in maybe making it better or helping me figure out how to approach the leaders about this and what to say :( I really want this to work so I can make up for what I DIDN'T do. 

 

Here is what I have so far:

 

 

This is based off of my food bank list. And it's basically based off the list of what we are supposed to put in the bags, just vegetarian stuff this time.

 

 

Vegetarian Option Bag

 

~Should NOT include any meat (including fish). Should include more beans (no pork and beans), fruits, vegetables, rice, pastas, vegetarian soups, cereals/oatmeal, muffix mixes~

 

+++ Two Bags of Dried Beans (makes up for two cans of meat we are supposed to give them)

+++ 1 Bag of Rice

+++ 2 Fruits (canned), 1 Fruit Juice

+++ 4 vegetables (canned)

+++ 2 Cans of Soup (Vegetarian specific or tomato soups)

+++ 1 Can of chef Boyardee (make sure is vegetarian)

+++ 1 Package other type of vegetarian soup if available

+++ 1 Peanut butter jar, and 1 jelly jar

+++ 1 box of macaroni and cheese

+++ 1 box cereal

+++ 2-3 packets of oatmeal

+++ 1 muffin mix

 

Yeah, so now that I think about it, it's not really that much of a change. We basically gave people most vegetarian stuff already. Is there anything else you guys think I should add or give more of? A lot of people are also asked if they want deer meat of chicken as we usually get a supply of that, so maybe on those days we offer those dead animals, maybe we could offer them some more veggie based items? We sometimes have a fresh supply of milk or soymilk, and nobody has bothered to give it out, so that might work.o_O

 

I'm really nervous about this!! Wish me luck guys xxx


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#2 Old 01-14-2013, 03:32 PM
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The food pantry around here lets you pick your own items.  They have every thing on shelves and based on your income/ family size, etc you get to go through the line and pick whatever you want.  They check it when they bag it for you at the end to make sure you don't have any more than the allotted number of items.  I think this works better for vegetarians and vegans but this kind of overhaul might not be the best thing to bring up at your board meeting.

 

I like your list I think its good.  I'm just thinking about the sort of staples people need and your bags seem kind of small.  Do you give out flour or any kind of cooking oil?  Or cooking buillon?  Fresh vegetables would be nice if you can manage it.  And yeah definately jump on that soymilk and start handing it out.


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#3 Old 01-14-2013, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Rotoshave View Post

The food pantry around here lets you pick your own items.  They have every thing on shelves and based on your income/ family size, etc you get to go through the line and pick whatever you want.  They check it when they bag it for you at the end to make sure you don't have any more than the allotted number of items.  I think this works better for vegetarians and vegans but this kind of overhaul might not be the best thing to bring up at your board meeting.

 

I like your list I think its good.  I'm just thinking about the sort of staples people need and your bags seem kind of small.  Do you give out flour or any kind of cooking oil?  Or cooking buillon?  Fresh vegetables would be nice if you can manage it.  And yeah definately jump on that soymilk and start handing it out.

That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

 

We don't give out very much out all. Basically you get one grocery bag, nothing much else. We have very limited items. I have never seen cooking oil or flour being given out. We give a A LOT of bread though. We get a shipment of unsold bread, cakes, and pastries from stores and people can take as much as they want pretty much. 


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#4 Old 01-14-2013, 04:47 PM
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That's what I like about you 4ever - you see a wrong and do what you can to right it!

 

Fat free refried beans

salsa-generic is really cheap by me-esp. Aldis

Biscuit/pancake mix

Instant potato flakes They're good for stews, shepards pie.

 

Can you have recipes there for people?

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#5 Old 01-14-2013, 05:51 PM
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Don't beat yourself up too much. The fact that you feel awful and wish to rectify means that you have a strong moral conscious, and that is a virtue.

 

I think bringing up the idea of a vegetarian option is a great idea that would make the Food Bank more encompassing. Would it be too much to propose a vegan option instead? I think this would be even more encompassing because it would include not only those who do not consume animal products for moral reasons but also those who abstain for cultural or religious reasons as many Asian religions do.

 

I do not have any experience in changing food options, but I think your list sounds very good. I know many food groups serve a lot of starch, rice in particular, because it is very cheap and very dry so it doesn't really go bad, though I'm not really sure if your Food Bank just gets donations or purchases or both. Dried beans, rice, pasta, oats, and canned foods will all last a long time and are all very cheap.

 

As for approaching the leaders, I would probably just focus on telling them that you wish the Food Bank to be more encompassing for those with special diets and then bring up the example you mentioned. I'm sure they will at least take it into consideration as they have probably ran into similar situations before.


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#6 Old 01-14-2013, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post

That's what I like about you 4ever - you see a wrong and do what you can to right it!

 

Fat free refried beans

salsa-generic is really cheap by me-esp. Aldis

Biscuit/pancake mix

Instant potato flakes They're good for stews, shepards pie.

 

Can you have recipes there for people?

Thanks Silva ^__^ 

 

We have some refriend beans and definitely tomato products. Oh yes we have lots of pancake mix, forgot we had that. Added!!

Don't know if we have potato flakes. We have random things come in sometime, so maybe!

 

That's a really good idea about the recipes!! I will keep that in mind. I mean that is REALLY great, so I'll keep it in mind!


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#7 Old 01-14-2013, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ajswara View Post

Don't beat yourself up too much. The fact that you feel awful and wish to rectify means that you have a strong moral conscious, and that is a virtue.

 

I think bringing up the idea of a vegetarian option is a great idea that would make the Food Bank more encompassing. Would it be too much to propose a vegan option instead? I think this would be even more encompassing because it would include not only those who do not consume animal products for moral reasons but also those who abstain for cultural or religious reasons as many Asian religions do.

 

I do not have any experience in changing food options, but I think your list sounds very good. I know many food groups serve a lot of starch, rice in particular, because it is very cheap and very dry so it doesn't really go bad, though I'm not really sure if your Food Bank just gets donations or purchases or both. Dried beans, rice, pasta, oats, and canned foods will all last a long time and are all very cheap.

 

As for approaching the leaders, I would probably just focus on telling them that you wish the Food Bank to be more encompassing for those with special diets and then bring up the example you mentioned. I'm sure they will at least take it into consideration as they have probably ran into similar situations before.

Thank you ajswara!!

 

I would have loved to propose a vegan option, but I think that would have been WAY too limiting for the amount of supplies we have. The pancake mix is not vegan, we have a lot of egg noodle pastas that we give out. A lot of other products contain dairy in some form. I think working with vegetarian right now  is a good start going off of what we have. The bag list is generally the same, just with some items substituted instead of meat products. We have also never had a vegan come in as far as I'm aware, but others have mentioned a few vegetarians, so at least we can work there.


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#8 Old 01-14-2013, 08:34 PM
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UPDATE:

 

Guys!!!!! It went SOOOOOOO WELL!!!!! =D I dressed up all nice and fancy and went to the meeting with my dad. I brought up my concern and it was well heeded as others had mentioned they had a vegetarian on their hands a few times. They think it was great that I brought it up, so right now they are letting me put up a special bag option for vegetarians. I also get to retype and make the common signs in the foodbank for the volunteers to follow fresh and with bigger fonts. =) 

 

I think I got really lucky because it was a nice group of older people and not some stingy folks or something. o_O But anyway, yay!! I'm going to the foodbank on thursday with fresh, new signs made up, along with the special vegetarian sheet! I may see if I can get some recipes booklets and put them out. That would be really great to put out at the serving station, even for people who aren't vegetarian but may like a recipe pamphlet!

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#9 Old 01-14-2013, 08:39 PM
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That's awesome! Glad to hear it worked out so well. Good for you for having the courage to speak up.


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#10 Old 01-22-2013, 10:26 AM
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Glad it worked out well. Good job stepping up and taking the lead to help!

One thing I noticed on your initial food list is Chef Boyardee canned foods. I've checked them before, and I don't believe that brand makes a single vegetarian item. All their stuff I've looked at is in meat sauce.

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#11 Old 01-22-2013, 10:48 AM
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Glad it worked out well. Good job stepping up and taking the lead to help!

One thing I noticed on your initial food list is Chef Boyardee canned foods. I've checked them before, and I don't believe that brand makes a single vegetarian item. All their stuff I've looked at is in meat sauce.

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Thank you ^_^ 

 

Oh yes, I did catch that. I thought about it for a minute and I was like wait a minute...they don't really have much if any veg stuff o.O what happened was is that I got confused because we have both a lot of cans of chef boyardee and spaghettios....I think I was thinking about spaghettios, so I changed it to that. I believe spaghettios has more veg options :) 

 

Oh oh, and guess what!! I went back there and put all the signs up already. It was also my volunteer day! This mother with a daughter around my age comes in and she mentions that her daughter is vegan =D!!!! I was like =D!!!!! My first vegan I met at the foodbank. I'm glad the younger generation is catching on!!


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#12 Old 01-26-2013, 10:11 AM
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Great news!
Maybe sometimes you could make a bag up and label it vegetarian to have it ready if someone comes in.

I was just talking to someone about this the other day. She kept saying that there were never vegetarian options at food banks. I wasn't arguing that there were but I did remind her that dry beans are the cheapest protein around.
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#13 Old 01-26-2013, 12:59 PM
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Great news!
Maybe sometimes you could make a bag up and label it vegetarian to have it ready if someone comes in.

I was just talking to someone about this the other day. She kept saying that there were never vegetarian options at food banks. I wasn't arguing that there were but I did remind her that dry beans are the cheapest protein around.

 

We sometimes don't have any vegetarians come in, so it works better just to make it up quick on the spot :) 


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#14 Old 01-29-2013, 10:37 AM
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Congrats!

 

 

I think what your doing is really really amazing carrot.gif

 

We have food banks here and sadly my family is lwo income so wev had to go quit a few times and it always sucks becuase all they give us is mainly meat products. hardly any veggie options and i 'm trying to go vegan, so it especially sucks. Keep at it!


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