Did you know? The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.

Nutrition Notes: Get Out and Move to Celebrate Earth Day

by Jenna Olson, RD, Nutrition & Wellness Educator

Wednesday, April 22, marks the 45th annual Earth Day! With summer poking its head out and the weather warming up, it’s time to get back outside and move! According to a study published in Medicine Science Sports Exercise, being physically inactive is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is linked to cardiovascular mortality. Being active helps control weight, diabetes, and blood lipid abnormalities. It also strengthens bones and muscles which in turn prevents injuries. Physical activity is also known to improve your mood and mental health.

Being physically active is different for each person. Some people love to run; others may enjoy biking, kayaking, skating, walking, playing basketball, hiking, and so on. If you have kids don’t just watch them play, play with them! I encourage you to get moving! For those that already are active and for those that aren’t, challenge yourself daily to improve your overall health. Feel better, look better, and be healthier by incorporating moderate to vigorous activity daily. Live longer, move easier, and be happier! Looking for a few ideas to give back to Mother Earth, below you will find a few Earth friendly activity ideas.

- Start your own compost
- Plant a tree, new flower or vegetable plant
- Start Meatless Monday in your household
- Shop your local farmers market

In honor of Earth Day, check out the Earth Day Network where you can learn more about the history of the Earth Day environmental movement.

Volunteers not only bag fresh produce, but they also put together boxes of nutrient-dense food for low-income seniors.

Volunteers receive All-Star recognition during National Volunteer Week

by Stephanie Schauer, Communications Associate

National Volunteer Week is here, and it serves as the perfect opportunity for nonprofit organizations like the San Diego Food Bank to give thanks to the people who play an important part in our mission to end hunger in San Diego County.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit – but with the SD Food Bank, they are an integral part of everything we do. Without their dedicated support, there is no way that we could spend 94% of every dollar on providing food to the 370,000 people we serve every month. We love our volunteers,” said Food Bank President and CEO, Jim Floros.

Last year, the Food Bank’s warehouse was visited 25,155 times by folks looking to help out their community, and together they spent a grand total of 53,727 hours assisting where needed.

Our awe-inspiring volunteers do everything from inspecting and sorting food donations to bagging fresh fruits and vegetables to packing nutritious meals for our senior client population. Sometimes, they can even be found lending a helping hand at one of our many food distribution sites giving fresh produce and nutritious food to those who face hunger in various neighborhoods.

“You come face to face with those in need and see how what we do in the warehouse directly affects the community we serve,” said longtime Food Bank volunteer, Paul Amberg.

The Food Bank will be honoring dozens of its volunteers like Amberg at its first-ever Volunteer Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, April 15.

Are you interested in making an impact? Click here to register to be a volunteer for the San Diego Food Bank , and remember to check in on Facebook to share your experience with friends.

Nestor Methodist Church (Image provided by Google Maps)

Nestor Methodist Church selected as April Nonprofit Partner of the Month!

by Shelly Hahne, Nonprofit Services Manager

In the past year, the equivalent of more than 82,000 meals (98,963 pounds of food) have been distributed by this dedicated group of staff and volunteers of Nestor Methodist Church’s food program. Each month they provide nearly 300 households with emergency food, reaching more than 1,300 people facing hunger.

This site provides monthly EFAP packages in the South Bay area. Congratulations to the Nestor Methodist Church team for the amazing work you do!

April is National Gardening Month!

Nutrition Notes: Celebrate National Gardening Month

by Jenna Olson, RD, Nutrition & Wellness Educator

April is National Gardening Month! As the warmer temperatures are upon us, it marks the perfect time to start your very own garden. So what are the benefits of having your own garden?

Nutritious and Tasty Food: Research has shown that home grown foods are usually more nutrient dense and sometimes freshly gardened produce can be tastier than store-bought produce.

Exercise: Gardening is a great rouce of exercise for the body and the mind. It serves as a great stress reliever, and it is a great way to get outside and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. It also serves as a chance to use your creative side and design how you’d like your garden to look.

Save Money: Growing your own food can make stretching your food budget much easier when you can find your essential fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard!

Teaching Tool: Help educate the little ones in your life by teaching them how fruits and vegetables are grown and and what they look like before they arrive at the local supermarket. A garden serves as a great teaching tool for children to learn where their food comes from.

Balanced Diet: When you have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, it makes it that much easier to consume more fruits and vegetables each and every day. You gain more appreciation for the growing process when it occurs in your own backyard.

Never grown your own food before? No problem! Planning My Garden is a great interactive tool that has growing guides on 15 different vegetables. Each growing guide includes where to plant, spacing and depth, special care instructions and most importantly, when to harvest!

If you are interested in trying out your green thumb skills but don’t have the space, you can look into container gardening. Here is a great easy 4-step guide to get your small garden started. Celebrate National Gardening Month this month by starting your own small garden this spring! Happy digging!