Thursday, April 23, 2015

Map the Meal Gap 2015 -- Hunger Affects Every Part of of Our State

Feeding America has published its 2015 Map the Meal Gap Study, an annual report that provides county-level estimates of food insecurity in the United States.
The research shows that 15.5 % of Mainers, or 206,000 people, are food insecure, meaning that at times they lack access to adequate food for a healthy lifestyle.
Feeding America has created an interactive map that allows viewing of how widespread hunger is in our communities.  You can see the map at

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oh, Fish Sticks!

Good Shepherd Food Bank has added a new purchased product: Frozen Fish Sticks!  

Why everyone should be eating more fish!

Fish contain the good-for-you fats called Omega-3s. These vital nutrients may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. Because our bodies can't make Omega-3s, we need to eat them, and fish is a relatively easy way to get these essential fats.

Are you getting enough fish in your diet?

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week, with a serving size of about 2-3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand).  If eating fish sticks, the serving size is generally 3 fish sticks. The more fish or Omega-3s you can get into your diet, the greater the effects on your body’s ability to curb inflammation in the blood vessels and slow plaque buildup inside blood vessels. 

Fresh, frozen or canned are all great options.

Tuna isn't the only fish that comes in a can. Salmon does, as do many others.  Should you use canned fish over fresh? It depends. Canned tuna, salmon and other fish are relatively inexpensive ($2.00 for a can of fish as compared to $8-12 a pound for fresh), they have a long shelf life and the fish is cooked and ready to use. Be aware, though; canned fish is higher in sodium than fresh and some canned fish comes with skin and bones. Did you know frozen fish is just as good if not better than buying the fresh filet? Most fish available in retail stores is frozen at sea (FAS) and then thawed for display at the store. So head to the frozen section for your fish! Good Shepherd Food Bank’s new offering of Frozen Fish Sticks can help your patrons increase their fish intake!

Make your own Tartar Sauce:

½ medium lemon
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Quick Honey Mustard:

½ cup spicy brown mustard

2 Tablespoons honey

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive 2015 is on May 9th!

The National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is Saturday, May 9th.  For information on this year's drive, go to the NALC's website.  There is not only information but also downloadable artwork, children's activities, a toolkit, and contact information for Maine's regional coordinators!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Capacity Building Grant – FAQ Part 2

Thank you to all the agency partners who called into the conference calls on April 1st, 6th, or 13th.  We wrote down your questions and wanted to make them available to others who may not have been able to participate in the calls. (These questions are in the order they were asked on the phone calls, and all questions are listed here, so some information may seem repeated.)

Please let your Agency Services Team know if you have other questions, concerns, or need more information.

Completed applications are due Friday, May 29th!

Q: CBG Application Question #4. How might we quantify effectiveness of a strategy such as adding shelving to increase efficiency of pantry operations?
A: For some capacity building projects the effectiveness of the changes can be measured qualitatively. Volunteers should sit down together when thinking about their CB goals and figure out what they want to see improve and that should lead to what to measure. Kathy gave the example that they could monitor volunteer hours to complete a task before the new shelving vs. hours to complete after new shelving or how a more efficient storage model would save volunteers time to do other things.

Q: May more than one project be submitted on one application?
A: Yes. If there are several ideas that the program wants to implement to build capacity they still all need to fall under the $5000 maximum. No agency will receive more than $5000. Also, if multiple projects are proposed, some part of the overall plan may be funded instead of the total. Reasoning on how it will build capacity should be included for each project proposed.

Q: Would a box truck to transport food be considered for grant funding?
A: Yes, if it is tied to capacity building efforts of the program. Another caller talked about their affordable version of this that might work well for other programs. They are using a CoolBot cooling device to turn a tow-behind trailer into a cold transport vehicle for under $5000.

Q: Would a project to partner with the Maine Community Health Worker Initiative to train a food pantry volunteer to become a community-based public health worker to link people to health and social services through the pantry be an appropriate grant request?
A: Yes, if proper details are provided about how this would enhance the pantry’s services and how the money would be utilized, this sounds like an innovative and promising program.

Q: Is the program required to get a community match for the grant amount they are requesting?
A: No. However, if you plan to use the Capacity Building Grant as a kick start to a matching funding request in your community, please let us know on your application.

Q: Are program’s going to be selected based on how large they are or how high they score themselves on the Self-Assessment for Partner Agencies at this time?
A: No. We recognize that all of our partners are at different stages of program development and capacity building. Applications will be evaluated based on the strength of the capacity building goals as detailed in the application, the link between the goals and the Self-Assessment findings, and the likelihood that the capacity building goal will create sustainable changes after the funding period ends.

Q: When completing the Self-Assessment, our program falls somewhere between two levels on the rating scale. Or, in some cases our program meets all except one part of the level. What should we choose?
A: If two categories seem to fit when filling out the Self-Assessment, mark both and underline or highlight all the items that best describe your organization. If parts of the category don’t apply, simply cross out the information that does not describe your organization.

Q: Can a program applying for a Capacity Building Grant submit supplemental materials that better show or describe the project/needs, such as photos of graphs?
A: Yes! A committee will be reviewing the CBG applications and some committee members may not be familiar with your program. Details are appreciated.

Q: What if the applied amount for through the CBG is less than that which is received by the partner agency? So, if a specific model of refrigerator costs $1000 and that is what is requested, but the Food Bank awards $700, does the agency need to come up with the difference in order to buy the exact same model proposed?
A: No, Good Shepherd Food Bank will work with the partner if the full amount requested is not awarded to determine how any changes to the original proposal will impact what is purchased with the award.

Q: Why the change from Matching Challenge? How much money will be distributed through the CBG program?
A: Not only food is needed by partners, and this gives the opportunity to purchase some of the “other” items that are needed.  Partners are often challenged to find funding for projects or infrastructure (technology, refrigeration, or training) but want to enhance their service.  We do not know exactly how much money will be awarded yet.

Q: How closely the self-assessment results needs to be tied to the request for funding? Does an area that you are doing well in already exclude you from asking funding in that area?
A: No. The Self-Assessment is a tool to be used to assess your capacity. The grant application is competitive; as long as you can show how what you are applying for is going to further build your capacity, your application will be considered.

Q: How long after the grant is awarded does the money need to be spent?
A: It depends on the project and how soon the project will be able to be implemented. Details about this will be discussed with awardees and timeline will be sent with specific award letters.

Q: Does the application need to be a cohesive ask? Can you apply for multiple projects that are not necessarily related?
A: You can apply for multiple projects within the $5000 limit. Clear explanations about why each project is going to help build your capacity are needed. If awarded a CBG grant, it is possible that only part of the request will be funded.

Q: Can you apply for a grant to buy food?
A: Possibly. Some examples that might be considered would be to buy food to appeal to special dietary considerations (such as demand for gluten-free) or some other special project to increase ability of the program to better serve the needs of their community. Compelling arguments for the need should be clearly expressed in the application.

Q: Can funds be used for purchases already made?
A: No. Receipts for purchases need to be dated after the grant awards are made.

Q: Would empathy training for volunteers be considered for funding?
A: Yes. Volunteer training tied to capacity building that will allow your program to better serve your community would be considered.

Q: Would a volunteer recognition event be considered for funding?
A: No, not unless there was a clear indication of how it would help your program build capacity to serve your community.

Q: Would expanding service into the area high school be considered for funding?
A: Yes, if it is a satellite distribution of your program that will expand your reach into the community. However, there is often money specific to funding child hunger programs that would be important to explore before we would consider using capacity building funds for such a project.

Q: Will you consider funding nutrition education activities?
A: Yes, but it needs to be tied directly to measurable outcomes and linked to your growth and/or improvement of your program. Also, there are many community partners throughout Maine that provide nutrition education and resource materials to your program free of charge, such as Healthy Maine Partnerships, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, SNAP-Ed. We’d want to see how you incorporated those resources.

Q: Will you fund projects to replace equipment, such as buying a larger scale that allows you to weigh product in and out quicker and provide accurate information to donors, or to buy a new computer for your program that has updated software to help the efficient running of the program?
A: Yes, however the request needs to be tied directly to measurable outcomes that show how you’ve built the capacity of your program to serve your community more efficiently.

Q: Would you consider funding a one-time senior nutrition education event?
A: The grant is intended to help your program build capacity for the long-term. A single, one-time program has limited capacity to create sustainable change for your program into the future and likely would not be considered. There are other resources in the community that may be able to partner to offer such an event.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Look for Our Spotlight Product Posters!

Each month or so, Good Shepherd Food Bank's Nutrition Committee will spotlight a particular product and supply recipes for that product!  As we continue to move our purchased product program toward items that are nutritious for our patrons, we'll supply information on what the health benefits are and how the product can be used.  Look for the poster and recipe ideas in each of our warehouses.
For those who don't get to our warehouses, stay tuned to our Agency Blog for highlights and links to recipes!
GSFB Network is a blog for partner agencies of Good Shepherd Food Bank focused on feeding Maine's hungry.