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Food Check-Out Week Set

By Staff | Jan 27, 2010

As the economic squeeze continues, many Americans remained concerned that the cost of a healthy diet is out of reach. However, according to an Agriculture Department study, the cost of eating healthy hasn’t changed as much as some less-healthy alternatives. Eating healthy food while on a budget does require smart shopping.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 21-27, focuses on helping Americans learn how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy, and abundant food. And they share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget.

The good news: a recent USDA report favorably supports the economics of healthier eating. Recent food price data show that prices for unprepared, ready available fresh fruits and vegetables have remained stable relative to dessert and snack foods, such as chips, ice cream, and cola. Therefore, as defined by foods in the study, the price of a “healthier” diet has not changed compared to an “unhealthy” diet.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, now in its 12th year, is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop effectively to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars. “Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely ensures that nutrition isn’t neglected,” according to Marilyn Thomas, Wetzel County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee chair.

“Fruits and vegetables-along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, bean, eggs and nuts-are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it’s in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch the dollar,” said Thomas.

The Farm Bureau has developed Food Check-Out Week educational material dedicated to helping consumers make healthier food purchases. Information on several topics including “Tips for Better Nutrition on a Tight Budget”, “How Much Should I Eat?”, “Understanding Food Labels”, and “Understanding What MyPyramid Means” is available through your local Farm Bureau.

Additionally, the Wetzel County Farm Bureau will donate approximately $2,500 worth of food and materials to the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House, recognizing the need everyone has to find solutions to feeding families healthful foods on a tight budget. The Ronald McDonald House provides a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in Morgantown. The food will be used to help feed families staying at the house.

This year’s Food Check-Out Day in Morgantown will be Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. Participants will meet at the Morgantown Kroger’s at that time and then proceed to the Ronald McDonald House to deliver the groceries. “Last year the groceries were delivered by horse and wagon owned by Bob and Cele DuVaul of Ohio County,” added Thomas. “There were approximately 20 vehicles escorted by the Morgantown police and the horse and wagon with McDonald’sHamburglar leading the way. People came out and lined thesidewalks to watch the event. It was covered by the media, just a real nice thing to bepart of.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the WCFB Food Check-Out Day can do so by calling304-386-4567 or 304-775-2805. Other items being collected by the WCFB to be donated to the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House are: youth sized quits or blankets, used printer cartridges, and pop tabs. For more information call the Wetzel County Farm Bureau at 304-386-4567 or the West Virginian Farm Bureau at 1-800-398-4630.

When an unlikely partnership was formed in Philadelphia in 1974 between an NFL team, a children’s hospital, and a restaurant chain, none of its members could have imagined that their dream of a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children would grow to become an international phenomenon. They simply wanted to create a place where parents of sick children could be with others who understood their situations and could provide emotional support. The seeds of the partnership were planted when Kim Hill, the three-year-old daughter of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia. Hill and his wife camped out on hospital chairs and benches, ate food from vending machines, and did all they could to keep Kim from seeing their sadness, exhaustion, and frustration.

All around them, the Hills saw other parents doing exactly the same thing. They learned that many of the families had traveled great distances to bring their children to the medical facility, but the high cost of hotel rooms was prohibitive. They continued to think, “There has to be a happy medium.” Hill rallied the support of his teammates to raise funds to help other families experiencing the same emotional and financial traumas as his own. Through the Philadelphia Eagles’ general manager, Jim Murray, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was Dr. Evans’ dream for a house that could serve as temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital that led to the first Ronald McDonald House. By 1979, 10 more Ronald McDonald Houses had opened. In the next five years, local communities founded 60 more houses; 53 more opened in the next five years. Across the country and throughout the world, people viewed Ronald McDonald House as a way for a community to band together for their neighbors in need of comfort and security during a particularly difficult time.

Currently, there are 293 Ronald McDonald Houses in 30 countries including: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. All told, more than 6,000 bedrooms are available.

The houses are supported by nearly 30,000 volunteers who annually donate more than three million hours of their time. Ronald McDonald House is the cornerstone program of Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501(c)3, that creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. To date, RMHC and its global network of local chapters have awarded $400 million in grants to children’s programs worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.rrnhc.org.