If you know us at the Butte CAA, you know we are passionate about connecting food to those in need.
We have many programs set up to help feed low income families and individuals who just need an extra helping hand. And if we don’t have a program to help, then we also have resources to direct you to an organization that may be able to help.
During the summer, we have our CAA North State Food Bank Tailgate events which are a little extra special because they include fresh fruits and veggies from our local producers. We are lucky to have such rich agriculture here in the North State to help support our efforts.
We want to help break the cycle of poverty. In addition to meal programs, we offer education and resources. Butte County Office of Public Health, CalFresh and Center for Healthy Communities are also great resources that compliment our food distribution events!
We want to go a step further and provide some tips and resources for when the food gets back to your kitchen, as well as planning for your next shopping trip to the grocery store or farmer's market.
Make Your Meals from Scratch
This may seem like the more expensive route to go because of the idea that you need to purchase more ingredients for your meals and some ready-made dinners look like the better bargain. However, buying ingredients to make a meal usually results in larger meals and potentially leftovers. If you know what your meals are going to be, you can even buy in bulk.
A great way to use those extra veggies is to add them in with regular foods. Leafy greens, summer squash, and mushrooms are all great additives to add extra nutrition to spaghetti sauce. When in doubt, sauté it out. So many veggies of summer just need a few minutes in the pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. If you want to keep the house cool and save on your power bill a bit, you can make salads or chop and dip your veggies. Ranch dressing is a classic for a reason!
Plan Out Meals
This is probably easier than you'd expect! You can come up with planned meals based on days of the week like Taco Tuesday, Hamburger Friday, Spaghetti Sunday, etc. This helps keep shopping costs down because you won’t be tempted to grab an extra something at the store that you know you don’t need.
Buy in Bulk
It's typically best to buy non-perishables like pasta, oats, trail mixes, sauces and canned goods in bulk because they won't go bad quickly. Many stews and soups, even pasta sauce, can also be frozen. WinCo has a great bulk isle and Costco sells in large portions as well. Just stay away from buying perishables in bulk as they could go bad before you get a chance to eat them, and that is just money in the trash.
Somehow Farmer's Markets have gotten a reputation for being expensive, however, much of the produce is competitively priced for the quantity, it’s fresh and your supporting local farmers! If you didn’t know Farmer's Markets, like in Chico and Oroville also takes EBT like CalFresh and WIC.
Keep it Simple
You may see some new vegetables you aren't used to either from a tailgate or at the market, and that’s okay. Diversity in your diet is positive whether you know what to do with it or not. Many veggies can be roasted with a little olive oil (another great item to buy in bulk) with some seasonings. Nutritional yeast is an easy way to get extra vitamins in your food and some say it has a cheesy taste to it. There are so many free resources for recipes online, and it's not just Pinterest! So be open to learning and exploring new food combinations.
The Gift of Food
A person's physiological needs, like food, water, and shelter, are the base of a healthy and fulfilling life. Our CAA North State Food Bank is a powerful and connecting resource to our community, distributing upwards of 1.5 million pounds of food a year to thousands in need.
So if you are in need of some help, please look into our website and use the resources listed here, and we hope to see you at the next Tailgate. If you'd like to support the North State Food Bank and help ensure others aren't going hungry, please follow the link below.
Since 1967, the Community Action Agency of Butte County has been serving the needs of the region in alignment with the charter of the National Community Action Agencies overarching goal: To alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty by whatever means necessary in your community. As Butte County CAA, we provide hope to people struggling with poverty to become more self-sustaining by meeting tangible needs in the areas of energy savings, affordable food, and housing. Connect with us to find out how you can get involved.