Those Winter Food Drive Blues…

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We Feel Your Pain!

If you’re a food pantry or soup kitchen, right now you’ve got the winter blues. Why? Because food donations have dropped through the floor.  The holiday giving season doubles as food drive season – which is great – lots and lots of donations.  Winter?  Not so much, in fact, barely any at all.  It’s tough to have to reduce the amount of food you can distribute.  Tougher still to turn people away.

How About Some Sunshine!

 

Sunshine

Our Crowd-Feeding system makes running food drives a breeze – easy to set up, easy to run, and no worries about winter weather making it hard for people to donate.

You Can Fight Winter Hunger, too!

If your group (your company, your church, your school, etc.) sponsors food drives – let them know that a winter food drive has more impact!
And remember, here’s no cost to use our Crowd-Feeding system.
And, it’s fun!

If you’re connected to a hunger organization – a food pantry, soup kitchen, shelter or food bank – let them know about us.  We’ll help them get through the winter.

Disrupting the Holiday Food Drive with Fruits and Vegetables

disrupting philanthropy #1

If you’re like many, you probably made a food donation to a food drive these past holidays. Chances are you donated some type of canned food because traditional food drives are limited to non-perishable items.  With our Crowd-Feeding system, no matter when you make a food donation, you can donate fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of other healthy food.

Why Does It Matter?

People struggling with hunger also struggle with diet related health issues – diabetes, obesity, hypertension & others due to lack of access to healthy food!

fruits and vegetables #2

What Can You Do?
If your group (your company, your church, your school, etc.) sponsors food drives – let them know there’s a way to raise the kind of food people facing hunger really need.   There’s no cost to use Crowd-Feeding system and it fun!

If your connected to a hunger organization – a food pantry, soup kitchen, shelter or food bank – let them know about us.  We’ll ensure they get what they need.

Welcome to 2016, but first a look in the rear view mirror

good bye 2015

We won’t bore you with all of the details, but 2015 was quite a year!

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We were thrilled to be selected for the Food-X program in March!

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The annual Curbing Hunger “Summer Doesn’t Take a Vacation” in June was a great success!

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The Real Food Drive Campaign kicked off in September.  This national campaign ran until year end and groups from around the country raised lots of healthy food!

We closed out the year with terrific media coverage by Civil Eats and the Washington Post and a fast growing community of people supporting our Crowd-Feeding movement!

We’ve lots of great stuff coming up in 2016 – so stay tuned for more!

 

This is the Question…

better to give than receive

Answer?  Yeah, it is…

But, we don’t mind gifts when we get them – so here goes…

nj tech audience choice award

Thanks to the NJ Tech community for giving us the Audience Choice Award – really exciting to be recognized by our fellow NJ techies!

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And a huge thanks to Civil Eats for the terrific piece by Twilight Greenaway about Crowd-Feeding!

Finally…we were named one of the 23 food companies that could change the world in 2016!  How cool is that!

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May the Food Drive Be with You!

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Be a Jedi Master in the Fight Against Hunger!

I was a teenager when the first Star Wars movie was released and it was magical.  Yoda was a big hit with me and everyone else I knew – his ability to move objects using “The Force” was just so cool.
With our crowd-feeding platform you can magically move objects, too!  There’s no heavy lifting any more with food drives – all you have to do is use your fingers – and let us do the rest!
See below for our current crop of Jedi Masters wielding their light sabers…er….computers, tablets and smart phones to run their food drives.

Mt Diablo

Cindy Gershen is our kind of hero and a true Jedi Master.  Cindy runs a nutritional cooking and feeding program at the Mt Diablo High School in Contra County, California.  Cindy has partnered with Wellness City Challenge, the Institute of Responsible Nutrition and Imperfect Produce for Amp’s first Bay Area (SF) healthy food drive!

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Hunger is a health issue – its as simple as that.  Leanne Ray and Jennifer Telluz led the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado on a healthy food drive that raised more than double their goal!  No doubt the force was with them!

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Cushman Wakefield also handily raised more apples, sweet potatoes and other healthy food items than planned to support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.  Over one ton of the kind of food people facing hunger  really need!

If your a Star Wars fan you’ll no doubt know that The Force is a power that can be used for good or evil.  It’s all about mindset.  Our mindset here at Amp continues to get stoked with all the great people we come in contact with who are doing so many good and amazing things.  We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to count so many as friends and supporters!

If you’ve got The Force – get a hold of us and we’ll help you run a great food drive!

 

What’s in Your Wallet…er…Food Drive?

I love Samuel L. Jackson – no matter the quality of the movies he’s been in (from not so good to magnificent) he’s always been an actor to watch.  Combined with the brilliant “What’s in your Wallet?” tag line, Capital One has spawned a marketing juggernaut.  I don’t know how much money they’ve spent on the campaign – but it hasn’t been cheap. My guess is worth every penny for them, though

whats in your wallet

I have a Capital One card and a few others, too.  I have to say that Capital One’s services, from their website to their communiques, are top shelf and make for a terrific customer experience – the others have a lot to do to catch up.

I was thinking about marketing and experiences the other day when I caught an absolutely cool story of two NJ teens who decided to help people facing hunger.  Watch the video that captures the essence of why people like to people struggling with a sandwich instead of giving them money.  Simply put, its a better experience.  And if you’re able to tell a compelling story in an easy to understand way – you don’t have to spend the money Capital One does to get noticed.  This video has gone viral with the most recent count at over 8 Million views.  Wow!

If you watch the video – it will make you feel good – and it should.  I’m always inspired seeing young people thinking outside of themselves and doing something about it. Unfortunately, the food they are distributing (McDonald’s hamburgers) while I’m sure causing high fives in McDonald’s marketing department, capture perfectly the dilemma people experiencing food insecurity face – lack of access to healthy food.  McDonald’s food is cheap but its also not very healthy.  Better than nothing?  Maybe.  But that question poses a false choice.  Wouldn’t it be better to provide these sames folks with some apples or bananas – or maybe a healthy sandwich?

People don’t donate McDonald’s burgers to food drives but they tend to donate a lot of other food that’s in the same ballpark – not very healthy.  We’re continuing to beat the drum so people know they can donate healthier food – food that will have a better impact.   We enable people to have a great donation experience – knowing exactly how they are helping and enabling them to help in the smartest way.

The next time you see a food drive, ask the people running it or the people donating “What’s in it?”  If its not healthy food, tell them a little bit about Amp.  I wish I could say that Samuel L. Jackson told you so – but I can’t – you’ll just have to say its me.

October 24 = Food Day 2015

Food Day Logo

Food Day is designed to inspire people to eat healthier food and to work to change our country’s food policies (hint: they currently stink…).  The idea is to have people and groups do things on Food Day to create awareness of the need (and benefits) of healthier eating and doubly to create awareness that Federal policies have an enormous influence over what we consume.  Many of those policies are pointing in the wrong direction – encouraging people to eat the wrong food.  Incredible, but true.

Amp is proud to be a Food Day national partner – we have co-organized the REAL Food Drive – and collaborate in other ways with both Food Day and many members of the Food Day community.

For us, Food Day is a wake up call.  There are identifiable reasons why more than half of all adults are diabetic or pre-diabetic and why so many Americans are obese.  The most obvious one is the food we eat.  “You are what you eat” is simple wisdom and the results speak for themselves.  It is, of course, more complicated than that –  our own government has food policies that have enormous influence over the food that’s available to eat and the guidance we receive about what constitutes a healthy diet. Unfortunately, government policies in these areas are influenced by special interest groups whose interest is making and selling more food that’s not good for us.

The good news is that change is afoot.  More and more people are waking up to the fact that we’ve got to make changes.  Individuals are voting with their dollars to purchase healthier food in lieu of unhealthy food.  It’s why McDonald’s is selling fewer Big Macs and supermarkets are selling more  organic food.  That’s heartening.  But its still just a start.

On Food Day (and maybe on many of the days following Food Day), do your self a favor.  Trade in the candy bar or piece of cake for a juicy apple.  Skip the potato chips and have some carrot sticks instead.  Your body will thank you for it

The Real Food Drive Campaign – picking up steam!

The NY Times just published a depressing article that noted despite an increasing amount of information about what we should more of (and less of) to be healthier, many people still ignore that advice.

What should we eat more of?  Real Food, and that’s the reasoning behind the Real Food Drive Campaign – to turn food drives into efforts that result in healthy food donations, instead of the usual stuff – highly processed cans of non-perishable food.  People struggling with food insecurity also struggle with poor health – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. – due in large part to a lack of access to healthy food.

If your organization is thinking about a running a food drive this fall – join our campaign! There’s no cost and you’ll get to raise lots of healthy food.

We have too many campaign partners to name here, but several are especially worth noting.

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food tank logoUnited States Healthful Food Council logoNational Association of Health and Fitness Logo

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Institute of Responsible Nutrition logo

And, of course….

Food Day Logo

These terrific organizations are all working towards getting us all to eat healthier food for all of the benefits that come with it.  Our connection is that we all recognize that so many people donate food to food drives with the best of intentions – we want to ensure those good intentions create the best impact.  We have a growing number of groups around the country who have joined the campaign and who are running healthy food drives.  Very exciting!

Interested in finding out more?  Send us an email at realfoodteam@ampyourgood.com

The Dog Days of August…Not!

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It’s August and here in NJ that means tomatoes!  My family’s lucky – we have a CSA share at Ralston Farm, right down the road from us. They grow outstanding organic fruits and veggies.  We just picked up these incredible tomatoes – delicious!

While August is a vacation month for many – not for us and for many others working to help those facing hunger during the summer – a time when most hunger organizations struggle with lower donations.

Chef's Community Table - Morristown Logo

The Chefs’ Community Table drive just wrapped up and raised over 400 meals to support the Market Street Mission in Morristown, NJ.  We’ll be delivering all those meals soon. Thanks to the team at St. Jacques Marketing and many others for making this first of its kind food drive successful!

We also just delivered a ton of fresh produce to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County raised by the annual Curbing Hunger drive – carrots, bananas and lots of other good stuff!  Curbing Hunger has been running this annual drive for 21 years!Curbing Hunger 8.13.15

The REAL Food Drive campaign is picking up steam – we’ll be sharing some exciting news about it soon.  In the meantime, stay cool and enjoy these last couple of weeks before the school season is in full swing.

What the Heck is a REAL Food Drive?

Real Food Chalk Board Dreamstime - resized for online post

Nearly all of us are familiar with the good old fashioned food drive.  Most of us have donated canned or boxed goods at one time or another – to a drive sponsored by our company, our church, our school or some other organization we are connected with.  In fact, in the US, people make billions and billions of food donations each year, making it one of the most popular forms of giving.  All of those food donations have one thing in common – they are non-perishable.  They need to be because they are going to sit in a collection box for awhile before they get to help someone.

Amp Your Good has reinvented how food drives work with an online giving model called Crowd-feeding.  Organizations use our crowd-feeding website to run their food drives. People who want to support a drive do it by purchasing the food they want to donate right at our website.  We deliver the food for them directly to the food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen they are supporting.  There’s no collection box so no chance of food donations spoiling.

And that means something radical – it means that instead of donating non-perishable food, people can donate perishable food –  REAL Food – fruits and vegetables, whole meals and other healthy food.  It means organizations can sponsor REAL Food drives with very specific goals – to raise organic food, locally grown produce, restaurant quality food and other types of REAL food.  It also means that food drives can be used to support other good causes – things like local farming, reducing food waste or protecting the environment.

But most of all, it means that food drives can be used to ensure that people struggling with hunger get the food they really need.  It’s a sad fact that the rates of diet related disease and conditions among the 50 Million people (US) facing hunger are astronomical – diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer are rampant.  While there are many contributing factors, lack of access to healthy food is the biggest one.  REAL Food Drives can help move the dial on this problem in a big way.

Traditional food drives have a long history and reflect the deep interest people have in helping those struggling with tough times.  But, as they say, “The times, they are a-changin.” There is a huge shift in people’s food preferences towards healthier food coupled with incredibly fast growing demand of food that can be purchased online.  We developed Crowd-feeding to leverage these trends for the benefit of those facing hunger.  Crowd-feeding enables everyone to amplify their good intentions so that food drives and food donations can have the best impact.

So, what the fork is a REAL Food Drive?  It’s a food drive that’s cool.  It’s cool because it’s environmentally friendly, healthy, easy and convenient.  It’s cool because it can be organic, it can support local farming, it can be vegan.  It’s cool because it’s transparent, smart and it’s social.  But most of all, it’s cool because it gets the right kind of food to the people who really need it.  It raises the kind of food you can stick a fork in.

If your organization is planning a food drive or the next time you’re planning to donate to one, make it REAL.