Voices of Family Promise: Healthy Pantries

June 23, 2020

As part of our ongoing conversation on homelessness, we asked members of the Family Promise network and individuals working to serve families experiencing homelessness to share their personal thoughts and reflections on Family Promise and the issue of family homelessness. These writers are true thought leaders, using their skills and expertise to develop and implement creative solutions that are changing the lives of parents and children in their communities. This post is from Kelly Donovan, a volunteer at Family Promise Union County.

This article was originally published on The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.

Kelly Donovan

My name is Kelly Donovan, and as of May 2020, I have finished my Masters of Science in Foods and Nutrition with my hours in practice of Dietetics (hopefully test centers will be open soon to take my exam to become a Registered Dietitian). I am eager to get out into the community to continue educating people about healthy eating.

Over the past month, I have had the privilege of getting to know many different families who have found themselves, at some time, in the care of Family Promise of Union County. I was able to virtually meet the families while implementing a program we call “Healthy Pantry.” This program aids families in setting up a versatile, healthy pantry/kitchen that will assist themselves and their families to reach their nutrition goals. We set up Zoom calls to discuss nutrition goals for their families that would create their “Healthy Pantry” tailored to each family. This consisted of getting to know each family and having them put in their orders for kitchen gadgets such as air-fryers, baking sheets, cutting boards/knives, crockpot, food processors, Nutribullets, steamers, etc. Next, each family was to fill out a list of staple pantry items such as salt-free spices, whole grains, and no-sugar/no-salt added canned items and within the next week I will be delivering these items to each family.

Having the necessary kitchen gadgets and pantry items are so crucial when making healthy meals for your own family. It provides the foundation for a nutritionally healthy household. I am so excited to deliver these items next week to meet all the beautiful families that I have had the privilege of getting to know!

It is especially important during the COVID-19 public health crisis to eat nutritious foods for a healthy immune system! Stay healthy!

Overlook Family Medicine and Family Promise Union County have partnered to provide health education to the many families we serve who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Family Promise Union County provides emergency shelter, food and services to families, and individuals who are homeless in Union County, with a professional staff and a vast volunteer network.

Dial 211 to find more resources near you.