Friday, May 28, 2010

Volunteering and Your Health: How Giving Back Benefits Everyone

A survey released by United Healthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, and VolunteerMatch identifies some of the key health benefits of volunteering. The UnitedHealthcare/VolunteerMatch Do Good. Live Well. Survey of more than 4,500 American adults found that 68 percent of those who volunteered in the past year report that volunteering has made them feel physically healthier.

  • Volunteers agree that volunteering helps them to lead healthier lives.
  • Volunteering appears to correspond with higher levels of life satisfaction - including a greater sense of meaning and purpose and higher levels of optimism.
  • Employers have an important role to play in encouraging volunteerism among their employees.
  • 25% of those who volunteer do so through their place of work.
Volunteerism in America
  • More than four in every 10 Americans (41%) have volunteered in the last year (e.g.,engaged in unpaid service activities, not including giving money or donation).
  • 69% of Americans have made donations to an organization in the past year.
  • 44% of Americans report that they intended to volunteer in 2010, with many citing "the opportunity to make a difference" as the motivation.
    UnitedHealthcare/VolunteerMatch Do Good. Live Well. Survey Methodology
    In February 2010, UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch sponsored a study among Americans to understand patterns of volunteering in the United States and its relationship to health and well-being. An online survey was administered to a national sample of 4,582 Americans over the age of 18 regarding their health and their propensity to volunteer. The sampling plan was balanced and the data were weighted to reflected the demographic profile of the U.S. adult population.

    The main objectives of the study were to assess current perceptions of Americans' own physical and emotional health, determine attitudes and beliefs about volunteering, determine the effect of volunteering on the volunteer, measure incidence and motivation of volunteerism in the U.S., gauge popularity and impact of workplace volunteer opportunities and highlight the differences between seniors who volunteer and those who do not in terms of health and lifestyle.

    The study was conducted by TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres) from Feb. 25 to March 8, 2010. TNS is the world's largest custom research agency. TNS provides comprehensive industry knowledge within the customer, technology, finance, automotive and political & social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 75 countries, TNS is part of Kantar, the world's largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit for more information - call (530) 668-0609 x106 or visit us on the web at:

    Complete results of the survey can be viewed at

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Spring has Sprung at the FBYC Garden!

    It may feel like winter still, but here at the Food Bank of Yolo County, our garden is showing signs of the warm weather and summer growing season to come. Working with two volunteer Master Gardeners from the University of California Cooperative Extension in Yolo County, we have designed and planted a demonstration garden on site at the Food Bank. The garden will be integrated with our upcoming cooking classes, in addition to inviting the Master Gardeners back to host gardening classes. Any produce not used in cooking classes will be distributed to our neighbors in need through other Food Bank programs.
    The garden is set up to show community members how easy it is to start a small backyard garden. Our traditional beds include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, zucchini, watermelons, cantaloupe, beans, and more. We are also trying out the Square Foot Gardening technique, which focuses on maximizing a small amount of space. These four boxes, holding 16 plants each, are set up as:
    • a salad box- with 16 different veggies & herbs to show how one 4-foot square box can provide enough veggies and enough variety for any family!
    • an herb box- with 10 different herbs to add extra flavor to Chef Arturo’s creations
    • a deep planter- holding some carrots this summer but will come in quite handy for planting root vegetables for the winter growing season
    • a tomato/pepper/eggplant box- because who isn’t dreaming of that first ripe tomato, sweet or spicy pepper, or eggplant parmesan? Yum!
    We planted the garden just 10 days ago with a combination of seedlings and seeds, and already the seeds are sprouting and we have our first tomatoes!
    Check back for updates on the progress of our garden and the healthy, delicious recipes we create, or leave us a comment below to share your stories or tips from your own gardening experience.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Crippling Hunger Can Strike Any of Us At Any Age

    By Arturo Vargas, Moveable Market Coordinator

    In America today, over 3.6 million Americans age 65 and older are living in poverty and lack the basic needs of food, shelter, transportation, and access to health care. Locally, despite Yolo County being at the heart of one of the world's richest agricultural regions, the number of people who suffer from hunger is rapidly increasing, and seniors are no exception. After a lifetime of hard work and manual labor, many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for basic necessities and buying groceries. Because they often need medication to maintain their health, many elderly Americans forgo the foods they need to stay healthy. Limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance makes seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger. This experience of hunger can have devastating effects on health and well being. Hunger increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, chronic health conditions, and mental health issues resulting in increased incidences of depression and isolation among seniors. Food insecurity among this vulnerable population is especially troublesome because they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions.

    The Food Bank of Yolo County has been serving the community as a whole and seniors specifically for 40 years now. With widespread community support we are working with our partners to ensure that seniors in need are provided with nutritious food. Our network of member agencies includes Elderly Nutrition, the local Meals on Wheels affiliate, which delivers nutritious meals and a smile to home bound seniors across the county.

    The Food Bank's own Moveable Market program visits sites across the county bringing fresh produce and nutrition education to those with limited access to the healthy food they need. As the Moveable Market Coordinator, I enjoy reaching out to community members to encourage healthy eating. When I arrive at the Moveable Market sites, there are often groups of seniors waiting to greet me, looking forward to seeing what produce I've brought and discussing what favorite recipes they can make. They seem to appreciate my visits and comment on how helpful the product is in stretching their budget. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I am helping seniors on a fixed income make ends meet in these difficult economic times, serving a critical need of my community and making a difference in their lives.

    Courtesy of The Davis Enterprise

    Original publish date: May 23, 2010

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Senior Hunger

    A Message from Feeding America

    In respect of the 3.6 million Americans age 65 and older living in poverty, we urge you to reach out to the Food Bank of Yolo County and help those at risk of hunger.

    After a lifetime of work, many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for healthcare or prescriptions and buying groceries. Because they often need the medication to maintain their health, many elderly Americans must forgo the foods they need to stay healthy. Limited mobility and dependence on outside assistance makes seniors particularly vulnerable to hunger. Food insecurity among this vulnerable population is especially troublesome because they have unique nutritional needs and may require special diets for medical conditions. According to Hunger In America 2010, among client households with seniors, 30 percent have had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.

    Many member food banks, like the Food Bank of Yolo County partner with Meals on Wheels programs (like Elderly Nutrition) and other food transport organizations to get food to those seniors that need it most. The Food Bank of Yolo County, a member of Feeding America, has proudly served the Yolo County area for 40years, feeding thousands of seniors each year. To find out how you can join the fight against hunger, please contact the Food Bank of Yolo County today. Together, we can provide hope to hungry Americans.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Food Bank Volunteers Are On TARGET!

    This week, the Food Bank proudly welcomed a group of hard-working volunteers from TARGET Stores and the TARGET Distribution Center in Woodland. As part of the Live United: United Way employee giving campaign, Target employee teams all over the country are dedicating their time and talents to Feeding America and its network of food banks on May 14. We were fortunate to get a jump-start on this campaign by hosting our volunteers on Thursday, May 13! Target volunteers were on-hand to assist our warehouse staff with sorting one of our regular large-scale deliveries and then re-packing the donated goods into boxes that will later be distributed to needy families in rural areas through our Rural Food Delivery Program.

    In addition to pushing up their sleeves, Team Target also gave a generous donation of $750 in gift cards! As Community Relations Group Manager Bernard Boudreaux recently stated, " Volunteerism is at the heart of Target." Thanks, again, Target. We appreciate everything you do to help us alleviate hunger in Yolo County!

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Asparagus- Our Veggie of the Month!

    How healthy is asparagus for you?

    Have you ever considered all the health benefits that asparagus--one of Spring's veggie delights--has to offer? If not, read more and learn just how much this delicious treat has to offer!

    Asparagus includes many vitamins such as Vitamin A, B and C. It also contains dietary fibers, manganese, phosphorus, copper, proteins and potassium. A single serving of asparagus fulfills 10% of folate, 80% of fiber and 100% of vitamin C requirement of the body. A regular intake of asparagus helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and hypertension. Asparagus has adequate amounts of the chemical folacin, which is useful for body growth, blood cell formation and in the prevention of liver diseases. The vitamin K found in asparagus is also useful for blood clotting and is helpful in processing calcium in the body. Vitamin C in asparagus helps strengthen the immune system, and the collagen produced from the vitamin C helps strengthen bones and in holding them together.

    Check us out every Friday during the month of May on myspace at where you'll find a new flavorful asparagus recipe each week!

    Golden Girls, Health Concerns

    On the hit show "The Golden Girls," Betty White, a.k.a. "Rose Nylund" frequently offered pearls of wisdom like "The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana." But for real-life golden girls, growing older is not a sitcom, and aging women's health concerns are no laughing matter.

    The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) recently found that 26% of women ages 50-64 report having a health condition that limits their basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting or carrying. According to their findings, nearly 6 in 10 women in this age group are either obese or overweight; and the prevalence among them for chronic conditions like high blood pressure hovers around 37%.

    Studies also suggest that older women tend to have higher disability rates than men of the same age. According to the Women's Health Initiative, additional health disparities tend to occur among older minority women due to fewer social and medical services. Across the board, research shows that staying active, healthy eating, reducing stress and regular doctor visits can all contribute to the overall health of seniors in general, and older women, specifically.

    Aging women comprise a significant percentage of the people the Food Bank serves. As advocates for health and well-being in Yolo County, their concerns are our concerns. Check out our Facebook page (profile: "YoloFoodBank") today for past postings related to senior health concerns, and stay with us throughout the rest of the month of May as we continue to raise awareness about health and safety issues specific to our senior community.

    Audiences roared with laughter when Betty White recently hosted Saturday Night Live. In fact, her appearance on the show was one of the most-watched episodes since 2008. After the laughter subsides, it would behoove us all to remember that many aging women face trying and oftentimes difficult, health-related challenges every day, and those golden girls deserve our attention, as well.