By: Kelsey Barnes, Clinton County Public Health Nutrition Educator
The Clinton County Health Department (CCHD) exceeded their expectations for the pilot food drive. Between October 26th - November 18th, Clinton County Health Department employees were tasked with donating healthier food items to a Department wide food drive. A total of 188 food items were collected and distributed to the area's main food pantries, Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf and JCEO Outreach Center, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Of the items collected, 87% met the healthy criteria outlined for employees at the last agency meeting. Selecting healthier, non-perishable food items requires some thought and label reading, but can be fairly easy if you know what to look for. For example, knowing that canned fruit in 100% fruit juice is a better choice nutritionally than canned fruit in heavy syrup, can make all the difference.
Collecting healthier donations from the community allows Clinton Counties local food pantries to spend their budgets on perishable items that clients would like to see in their food package, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. When the fresh produce is available at the pantries, clients take full advantage because many do not have the opportunity to access fresh produce otherwise.
The next step for CCHD is to partner with community organizations that coordinate their own food drives. CCHD will be able to provide engaging promotional materials and other resources to help encourage healthier donations.