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Food for the Soul- Distributing Recovered Nutritious Food

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Bags of recovered potatoes

The solution to hunger won’t be found in a bag, box, or can because the crisis isn’t just about calories- it’s about nutrition.

In America, pantries have relied on donations and surplus buying programs. This has led to a nutritional crisis. One where the face of malnutrition is coupled with that of obesity. “Overfeeding calorically-dense, but low nutrient meals exasperates the dual burden of malnutrition and ultimately increases obesity rates and health disparities in low-income populations.”[1]

Recovered greens

That’s where Food for the Soul steps in. Working in partnership with organizations like Last Mile Food Rescue, La Soupe, and Freestore Foodbank, Food for the Soul is providing wholesome, nutritious food to people throughout Hamilton County.

Mary Knight, Director of Food for the Soul, began developing her “Self-Select Mobile Food Panty” in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Seeking a safe and accessible way for people to access nutritious food, she continues to partner with agencies like St. Monica’s in Lincoln Heights to distribute wholesome, nutritious food. Mary Knight shares “we believe that access to nutritious food is a basic human right. Through fostering and maintaining partnerships with existing organizations, we are committed to responding to the needs of our community through the “rescue” and distribution of food and educational services.”

While pantries play an important role in the effort to reduce food waste, they “do not exist to serve as a way to reduce food waste, but to address hunger in the communities they serve.”[2] The reduction of waste is secondary to the efforts to provide wholesome, high-quality food to those who need it most.

That is why the work of these agencies is so important. They’re not simply donating boxes of sugary snacks, they’re recovering wholesome, healthy food that will feed the body and the soul.

Box of recovered peaches

You can be part of the growing movement to get healthy surplus food to the people who need it most. Volunteer to be a Food Rescue Hero or help Food for the Soul at one of their upcoming distribution events. Make your own nutritious and delicious breakfast with the following recipe from our Outreach Specialist Elise Roalef who is reducing food waste by making Banana Pancakes.

Leftover Banana Pancakes Ingredients

· 2 eggs

· 1 overripe banana

· Some butter (or cooking spray) for the pan


1. Slice the banana into chunks in a small mixing bowl.

2. Mash the banana with a fork until it has the texture of pudding.

3. Crack both eggs into the mixing bowl.

4. Thoroughly mix the eggs into the banana so that it creates a smooth batter.

5. Turn stove on medium and spread butter around the pan – use as much or as little as you want! (Alternative = cooking spray)

6. Scoop and pour about 2 tablespoon of batter per pancake.

7. Cook for about 1 minute on the first side, then gently flip with a spatula to cook the other side.

8. Place your pancakes on a plate.

9. Top with your favorite toppings! I love cinnamon and honey!

[1] (Kara Shifler Bowers, 2018) [2] (Move for Hunger, 2016)

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