Grandma’s House

Do you remember how much fun it was to go to Grandma’s house in the summer? Her place was always so much more fun than home. She had all that old, cool stuff cluttering up the house- the handmade quilts that smelled like mothballs, the old console TV with the rabbit ears that took 3 minutes to “warm up,” and she had a kitchen that smelled like heaven from dawn till dusk as she cooked food that made your mouth water in anticipation. We loved going to Grandma’s because she took care of everyone and worked hard to make sure everyone was happy and satisfied.

What happens when someone needs to take care of Grandma? This is the grim reality for so many senior adults in 2011. Senior adults are increasingly plagued by poor nutrition and poor health brought on by hunger as a result of financial hardship. The rising costs of prescription drugs, health care, housing, fuel and food are putting more and more Grandmas and Grandpas between a rock and a hard place. They are continuously asking themselves, do I spend my money on medication to keep me alive or food to survive? Not a choice many of us would like to make.

That’s why the Senior Feeding Programs of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma exist. We step into that gap and provide nutritious food for senior adults who need a little something extra to make it through the month. Our Senior Homebound program provides a sack of simple to prepare and eat food for seniors on mobile meal programs. Our Senior Mobile Pantries take a load of groceries, produce, meat, and bread to 10 different low income senior living centers to provide a nutritional boost to seniors at risk of running out of money before they run out of month.

As the new Senior Feeding Program Coordinator, I am proud to be a part of a team that is working diligently to make these programs available to as many seniors in our great state as possible. I am thankful to have a way to give back to a generation of people who have spent their lives making everyone else welcome and comfortable and stronger. It is now my pleasure, and privilege, to return the favor. If you have fond memories of Grandma’s house and would like to give back feel free to contact me at rabernathy@regionalfoodbank.org. I will provide you a volunteer opportunity that will give you a way to give back to some amazing seniors in our state.

Ryan Abernathy

Ryan Abernathy

Ryan Abernathy is the Program Coordinator for Senior Feeding, DHS Pantry Box, CSFP, and Care & Share for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Theological Seminary. Ryan is married and has three beautiful daughters.
Read more articles by Ryan



Cooling Down in the Kitchen

Summer is here – temperature-wise anyway. With the heat outside, it sometimes makes it difficult to want to turn on the oven and stove in the kitchen. Below is a nice solution – a filling (and chilling) recipe from www.eatbetteramerica.com that is easy to make and will fill you up on some nice summer veggies.

Veggie Salad in a Pocket

Prep Time: 20 min
Start to Finish: 2 hr 20 min
makes: 4 servings

1 cup chopped yellow summer squash and/or zucchini
3/4 cup chopped broccoli
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped, pitted Kalamata or ripe olives
2 tablespoons snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley or regular parsley
1/4 cup bottled fat-free Italian salad dressing
3/4 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (from a 19 oz can)
1 1/2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 6- to 7-inch whole wheat pita bread rounds

1. In a medium bowl, combine squash, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, and parsley; toss with 2 tablespoons salad dressing. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
2. For hummus: In a food processor, combine cannellini beans, the remaining 2 tablespoons salad dressing, mustard, and salt. Cover and process until smooth and spreadable. (Or mash beans with a potato masher or fork. Stir in salad dressing and mustard.)
3. Cut pita bread rounds in half crosswise; open pita halves to make pockets. Spread hummus inside each pita pocket. Spoon chilled vegetable mixture into pita pockets.

Nutritional Information

1 pocket: Calories 150 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 640mg; Total Carbohydrate 30g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 3g); Protein 7g

Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 45%; Calcium 4%; Iron 10%

Exchanges: 2 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 1/2 Vegetable

Carbohydrate Choices: 2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony

Melanie Anthony is a Development Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate and mother of two.
Read more articles by Melanie

Last night I went down to Bricktown to see Jeff Gordon’s Drive to End Hunger Chevy Impala.  I’ve never seen a car that drives in NASCAR races.  It was pretty cool.  I was amazed at how small the inside was only because the seat pretty much wraps around the driver for safety.  I’m pretty sure I would all of a sudden be claustrophobic and a bit scared if I were to get into a racing car like that.

Another scary thing that I realized last night was that Oklahoma is ranked 10th highest in America for senior risk of hunger.  I can barely believe that here, in the Heartland, so many of our elders have to choose between their prescriptions and eating every day.  This is why AARP started the Drive to End Hunger and why Governor Mary Fallin proclaimed that 2011 the year to Stop Hunger in Oklahoma.  Watch the video below about last night’s activities.

Jill Smith

Jill Smith

Jill Smith is the Manager of Interactive Media at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. In 2008, she graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising.
Read more articles by Jill