VA Healthcare food drive takes healthy turn
By Rick Wills
Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 5:36 p.m.
VA Butler Healthcare's food drive for veterans puts a new twist on an old tradition.
“We take any donation. But we encourage people to give healthy food,” said Karen Dunn, VA Butler's health promotion and disease prevention program manager.
The Healthy Living Food Drive takes place this month, and the food will be distributed in February.
Collecting healthy but non-perishable items presents some challenges, says Rachelle Lyons, VA Butler's registered dietitian.
“Canned beans are wonderful. Canned fruit is good, as long as you don't drink the syrup. Most canned soups are OK, though some have a lot of sodium,” Lyons said.
The food drive is now in its third year. Last year, the VA used 966 donated items to assemble 49 packed boxes for 22 single veterans and six families, Dunn said.
The food is usually taken to veterans in low-income or subsidized housing, she said.
Encouraging people to donate healthy food is part of a larger effort at the VA, Lyons said.
“It's important to get people to eat more healthy food. It is easier and cheaper to buy less healthy food,” she said.
Poor diet is linked to health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
“They are related to unhealthy behavior. Changes in diet can make a big difference in people's lives,” Dunn said.
There are several reasons why people don't eat healthy, Lyons said.
“People don't focus on cooking the way they did 30 or 40 years ago. No one seems to have time to cook. People also think cooking takes hours. It doesn't always take that much time,” she said.
Younger families, especially, don't cook a lot because they think they are pressed for time, Lyons said. Widowed or divorced male veterans who are older often don't know how to cook at all, she said.
“We see that a lot with older men. Many men of that generation just don't know how to cook. They start eating out all the time if they lose a spouse,” Dunn said.
Lyons has a teaching kitchen at the VA where she shows people how to prepare everything from pasta dishes to granola bars, banana cream smoothies and chili.
“There are many, many things that you can cook in about a half-hour,” she said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Management company to pump up Regatta at Lake Arthur weekend
- International Baccalaureate classes coming to Seneca Valley
- Cranberry’s Community Chest hopes yearly project will boost VFDs across county
- Cranberry native lands prestigious merit-based scholarship
- Portersville man charged with homicide of Harmony man
- Easter sermons in Butler County offer messages of hope, love
- $25M in road construction planned for Butler County
- VA Butler Healthcare honors pair with newly created Volunteers of the Year awards
- No West Nile funding needed in Butler County as DEP chooses grant recipients
- Museum exhibit to display history of Harmony