The Salvation Army’s goal during Minnesota FoodShare Month is to stock our food shelves with a larger supply of fresh produce, because healthy foods lead to healthier families.
Major Rae Doliber (pictured) believes in this mission deeply. Since 2005, she has been eating almost nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables.
“It has been an adventure in learning what to eat,” quipped Doliber, Emergency Disaster Services director for The Salvation Army Northern Division.
A fun and delicious adventure: On the day she was interviewed, Doliber fixed herself a tantalizing lentil soup for lunch, complete with sweet potato, carrots, celery, orange cauliflower, onion, and curry.
Eating healthy foods all day, every day, makes Doliber feel fantastic.
“All of that fiber coming in cleans the body out,” she said. “It pulls out the fat and the free radicals that pollute the body.”
The seeds of her health kick were planted in 1999, when she cut soda and processed foods out of her diet. Soon, her energy level skyrocketed and her weight plummeted.
“I lost 40 pounds,” said Doliber, who went on to become a vegetarian in 2005 and is now vegan. “When you start applying some of those simple changes, you notice big changes.”
Although eating healthy can be expensive, Doliber keeps her monthly food bill low by shopping at discount grocers that offer an ever-increasing selection of low-priced organic produce.
“I also look for coupons,” she said. “I plan my meals for the week according to what’s on sale. You have to be wise with your shopping.”
Grow a row
This spring, Doliber will begin preparing a vegetable garden that will eventually sprout celery, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. She plans to donate some of her abundance to Salvation Army food shelves.
If you like to garden, you can “grow a row” for The Salvation Army, too.
“When people share their beautiful homegrown produce with us, our food shelf guests absolutely love it,” Doliber said.
You can maximize the amount of fresh food you donate by planting fast-growing veggies such as baby carrots, beets, lettuce, squash, and cucumbers. Other helpful produce includes snap peas, beans, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes.
No matter what types of fruits or vegetables you like to grow, The Salvation Army knows lots of families that would love to eat them. Donate your produce at your nearest Salvation Army food shelf in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.
Other ways to help
If gardening isn’t your thing, here are three other ways to help The Salvation Army get more fresh fruits and vegetables into the cupboards and refrigerators of families in need:
Become a recurring donor
Struggling families should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. You can help make this happen by becoming a recurring donor. Your monthly gift of any amount will help to ensure that families always have healthy meals and snacks to eat, month after month. Become a recurring donor.
Take on our Lent Challenge
This Lenten season, we challenge you to help struggling families eat healthier by doing one of the following:
- Donate 40 items of healthy food – perishable or nonperishable – to a Salvation Army food shelf near you. Find your nearest food shelf in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.
- Give a one-time gift of $40 to The Salvation Army’s March food drive for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Become a $40 recurring donor. Your monthly gift will provide healthy foods for families in need all year long.
The Salvation Army operates 20 food shelves in Minnesota, and all of them need volunteers. Typical duties include sorting food donations, stocking shelves, and helping families fill their grocery bags.
Find a Salvation Army food shelf near you in the Twin Cities or Greater Minnesota and sign up to volunteer.