Why do we volunteer? Everyone seems to have their own reasons —to meet people, learn a new skill or connect with their community. Whatever our motivation, what unites us all is the positive feeling volunteering generates. According to Psychology Today, volunteering decreases stress and improves mood. So it makes sense to volunteer just because it feels good.
My most recent volunteer experience was at Gleaners Community Food Bank with their Fresh Food Share program. Fresh Food Share is a community based produce delivery program that for a small fee provides a box of fruits and vegetables each month. Each group of volunteers prepares and packs boxes that are delivered to sites in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Pontiac. Our group packed over 200 boxes of assorted fruits and vegetables to 200 households in Detroit and Pontiac.
Every box contains high quality, nutritious fruits and vegetables that are purchased wholesale often from local farmers. Increasing access to local fresh food is a no brainer to improve the health of our communities. And, as a dietitian, I always recommend eating more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet.
Volunteering at Gleaner’s Fresh Food Share program was a perfect match for me. Where can you help out in your community? Check out volunteering opportunities near you with http://www.volunteermatch.org.
Perfectly Cooked Carrots
Adapted from Fresh Food Share Newsletter, January 2016
Try a simple, fresh method for cooking this widely available root vegetable. Consumed hot as a side, cold in a salad or pureed as a soup, cooked carrots are highly nutritious and adaptable to many recipes.
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Heat a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add oil, carrots and garlic. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Discard garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and additional olive oil as desired.
Cook’s Note: Double the amount of cooked carrots, sauté 5 to 10 minutes longer (or until very soft), place in a blender and puree with vegetable stock to desired consistency. Serve as a soup topped with chives and sour cream.