Food banks and pantries play a key role in supporting food security and contribute greatly to the dietary intake of families and individuals in all communities. Donations are critical in pantries having the ability to meet the needs of the people they serve! In recent years, there has been an increased focus on sourcing and supplying nutritional foods within the charitable food system. GRACE has already taken the first step in working toward offering a variety of options for our clients by using the client-choice service model that allows our clients to hand select food they know their family will eat. The GRACE Pantry is fortunate to have donations from many sources contributing to the overall availability of food including individual donations, corporate/organizational donations, local grocery and retail stores, and the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Healthy food choices are always a focus of GRACE. The Pantry works alongside our GRACE Clinic to present Nutrition and Cooking classes that support overall healthier lifestyles for our clients. In addition, this year Tarrant Area Food Bank implemented a Nutrition Policy that prioritizes the sourcing and distribution of healthy food including the SWAP program. Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) is a stoplight nutrition ranking system designed to help promote healthy food choices at food banks and food pantries. It categorizes food as Green, Yellow, or Red, based on its nutrition value. GRACE supports and educates shoppers using this model.
One major component of healthy eating is fresh produce. The GRACE Community Garden provides close to 2000 pounds of fresh, organic produce for the Pantry each year. Fresh produce that is grown in donor gardens is also accepted at the Pantry as is ANY fresh produce that is purchased. Another healthier option for our shoppers is frozen vegetables and fruit! The nutritional content in frozen vs. canned food is substantially higher. Other “always needed items” include NON-GMO, low sodium base, gluten-free and organic items. Choosing items that look similar but are made from organic items are also in demand, for example, Chickpea Rotini Pasta or baked crackers made from vegetables or nuts are a great way to contribute to your local pantry.
GRACE is on a mission to fill their shelves with the healthiest options for our clients. Please consider donating to the GRACE Pantry. A needs list is included below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marcus Miranda, Pantry Manager, at mmiranda@GRACEGrapevine.org or 817-305-4677.