America's obesity epidemic has perhaps hit the most food insecure hardest, as foods high in sugar and fat are typically cheaper and more accessible. Now, one Washington, DC area food bank is taking a stand against junk food and denying donations of highly processed, sugary foods to its facilities.
At the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), president and CEO, Nancy Roman, has seen a recent onslaught of donations of this junk food, turning their operation into an "incredible exploding warehouse of sheet cakes." In order to combat this, beginning on September 1 Roman and her team will no longer accept a number of unhealthy food items, including candy, soda, and baked sweets. "With so many of those we serve struggling with diabetes or heart disease, we have a real moral imperative to improve our food stream," Roman says of the major change to the organization.
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According to Roman, high blood pressure and diabetes are significant issues facing many of those served at the food bank, and the CAFB hopes this decision will enable them to help improve the health of those they serve. The food bank will work hand-in-hand with two major retail contributors—Shoppers Food and Pharmacy Bob Gleeson—to provide healthier, more nutritious meals to those in need. Currently, the organization distributes 45 million pounds of food per year, 1/3 of which is produce, to the half a million food insecure residents DC and its suburbs.