Houston Food Bank: “Thank you for being here when we needed you the most!”
Published in Houston Food Bank’s “Generous Helpings“
As the mother of three teenage sons, Selena is frequently in awe of how much her boys eat. Her two youngest boys are in high school, and her oldest is studying auto mechanics in college.
Selena has worked hard as a psychiatric tech at a local hospital for over seven years, but raising her boys alone means her paychecks are stretched pretty thin. Sometimes she just can’t do it on her own, and she needs a little bit of help to keep her kids from going hungry.
That’s when Selena visits her neighborhood Houston Food Bank partner agency to load up on healthy groceries to feed her growing boys. She’s so grateful for the food she receives, and knows she couldn’t provide nutritious meals for her sons during a challenging time like this without the help of friends like you.
Having enough food to feed her boys keeps them growing strong. Selena’s 17-year-old son, Richard, is in his junior year in high school, and his favorite class is criminal justice. He’s an active teenager, and Selena is thankful that she can provide him and his brothers with the fuel they need to continue to lead healthy lives.
“It’s serving a need,” Selena says of the food pantry. “It helps a lot.”
Selena is grateful to generous donors like you who make the pantry an available resource your donations are welcomed at houstonfoodbank.org to her and other struggling families.
“Thank you for being here when we needed you the most!” she says.
To get a free Prescription Discount Card benefitting the Houston Food Bank, download, print, email, or have a card mailed to you here. Every time you save on your prescriptions, we make a donation to help provide meals for people like Selena.
Watertree Health MVP Spotlight: John Schweininger
John Schweininger, husband to Anne and father to Frank and Robert, lives in San Jose, California. Since John first joined Watertree Health® 3.5 years ago, he has never given less than 100%. You may know that he is one of the top reps, or a 2014 and 2015 President’s Club member, but what you probably don’t know is how well he takes advantage of the tools and resources provided to him by Watertree Health. Impressively, in 47 months he has only missed about 5 Rep calls due to travel. Not many people, if any, can claim this level of commitment. Perhaps no surprise—this September, John is our honorary MVP!
Prior to joining Watertree Health, John worked in quality control at a printing company for 35 years. After he retired, a friend and former colleague named Susan Malicki (who is also a WH Rep) referred him to our company. This was the start of his “second career”.
“Needless to say, it worked out,” said John.
“I joined on March 4, 2013. Most of my life, I was more of a taker than a giver. I always felt more comfortable when I gave, but I didn’t know how to pursue it. Now, I am—I’m helping people.”
“The first nonprofit program I worked on was the one benefitting the Prescott Firefighters. The Yarnell Hill Fire took the lives of 19 of these firefighters on June 30, 2013, and in a very short time we were able to raise $18,000. This initiative really hit home for me because a close friend of mine is a Fire Captain.”
“Now I work on the Make-A-Wish® program, and it’s amazing to me how many people are touched by the organization. For example, one pharmacy tech had his wish granted to go to Disney World® when he was 18. At 20, his cancer had cleared, and he started working as a pharmacy tech at 21.”
As mentioned, John is all-in with our mission and purpose at Watertree Health. In fact, he’s so committed that he usually chooses to work on holidays. One Thanksgiving, he witnessed a woman crying in line at the pharmacy. When he asked the tech what had happened, he said she had saved $100 on her prescription using our card. She was shocked she could afford the medicine and, because she saved money, was then able to buy food for Thanksgiving.
“Another time at Christmas, there was a single mother with her child. She saved $80 with our card and was thrilled to be able to use this money to get her son a Christmas present,” John shared.
For John, one of the most important aspects of Watertree Health is the people.
“I adore the President’s Club members – I’ve met and talked with them all. There is so much great information being shared amongst us, and stories filled with compassion, it inspires me to help even more people. It’s been an unbelievable ride.”
John’s manager says, “John knows how to read people and never misses a beat when it comes to the details. He’s a great listener and can make anyone smile. He’s the backbone of the team and his commitment is unwavering. I feel extremely lucky to have him on the West Coast.”
John’s wife Anne helps him with his business. “She creates my schedule, maps out routes, and does some of the paperwork. We work well as a team,” said John.
Not only is he a dedicated Representative, compassionate person and leader in our company, he is also a stand up guy who treats people the right way. Thank you John for all of your hard work. We are so lucky to have you on our team! Congrats MVP!
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Obese but Hungry
Originally published in Huffington Post
By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health
America today is full of paradoxes. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but our health care is the most expensive and children are going to bed hungry. Starved, gaunt bodies of the Depression Era have been replaced with obese physiques due to people not exercising nearly enough or not eating the right foods. Media simultaneously alarms us about an obesity epidemic while proclaiming more and more people struggle with hunger.
Feeding America reports:
- 1 in 8 Americans struggles with hunger
- Food insecurity affects almost every U.S. community
According to the American Heart Association, in America:
- More than 2 in 3 adults are overweight, and more than 1 in 3 are obese
- Between 1962 to 2006, adult obesity increased from 13.4 to 35.1 percent.
- Compared to the 1950s, the average adult today weighs over 26 pounds more.
How can this be?
The Food Research and Action Center refers to a Frongillo & Bernal study, which concluded that the “coexistence of food insecurity and obesity is expected given that both are consequences of economic and social disadvantage”.
In the New York Times article, “The Obesity-Hunger Paradox”, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Joel Berg explains, “Hunger and obesity are often flip sides to the same malnutrition coin… hunger is certainly almost an exclusive symptom of poverty. And extra obesity is one of the symptoms of poverty.”
The combination of hunger and obesity are not counterintuitive because lower-income people often lack access to healthy, affordable foods. Impoverished neighborhoods do not have as many healthy options as more affluent ones do. Therefore, lower-income people gravitate towards what’s available: cheaper, fattening and filling alternatives that are often highly processed, artificially colored and unnaturally preserved.
Historically, food banks had fought hunger with whatever donors would give them—often not nutritious food. Luckily, that’s changed. For example, the Houston Food Bank offers seasonal fruits and vegetables to help address the growing number of clients who have diabetes due to poor diets. In 2014, Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks, served 15.5 million households—one third of those households had a diabetic member.
It’s not enough that we focus on hunger; we must approach it in a holistic way that promotes overall health. A working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) just compiled solid evidence that obesity is linked to at least 13 types of cancer. Hunger and obesity are not isolated issues— we are dealing with very serious health problems that are interconnected.
This September, we encourage you to make a difference during Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month. Help raise awareness about hunger in our communities, volunteer your time or drop off nutritious food at your local food bank (click here to find one near you), or donate to the food bank in your community. Let’s solve hunger, healthfully, together.