Volunteers pack healthy meals for food shelves

NEW ULM – About 50 New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) employees, their families and friends packaged 1,400 healthy meals for neighbors in need Saturday morning in the NUMC parking lot.

Allina Health donated cans of black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken and one-pound bags of brown rice in the packages designed to feed a family of four. The packages will be distributed to local food shelves.

“Our healthy meals event is especially timely as food shelves experience higher demand because kids are out of school and people make fewer summer donations,” said Dr. Scott Flaata, internal medicine physician at Allina Medical Center, Edina. “Meal packs also provide healthy meal options that are sometimes scarce at food shelves.”

Carisa Buegler, NUMC Director of Foundation and Community Engagement, thanked NUMC employees, their families, friends and other volunteers for coming out early on a Saturday morning to help the needy.

“It went really well,” Buegler said. “We reached our goal of 1,400 meals and had everything done before noon. Thanks to everyone who helped.”

Meals will be donated to community organizations including food shelves, shelters, schools and religious organizations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Pamphlets on healthful eating on a budget were distributed with the meals. Information recommended people stock their kitchens with eggs, fresh apples, bananas, carrots, greens, potatoes including sweet potatoes, dried or canned beans, canned tomatoes, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, old-fashioned oats, and foods in bulk like frozen vegetables, meat and whole-grain products.

Other tips included making leftovers into new dishes by putting leftover meat on a salad or, uneaten vegetables into a stir-fry, casserole or soup. Leftovers can also be frozen and reheated. Canned foods should be rinsed to get rid of excess sodium and sugar.

Recipes included chicken and black bean casserole and fiesta corn salad. For more information, visit www.choosemyplate.gov, neighborhoodhealthconnection.org and allinahealth.org

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com

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