Snow Days Means Some Children Go Hungry

Well, another snow storm blew into the north east last Friday closing down just about everything in its wake, including schools. Unreported in the coverage of the storms this winter is the fact that the children who live in homes below the poverty line or from homes where one or both parents are laid off work do not  receive the reduced or free school meals they would normally get. For many children these school meals are often the only food they eat all day.

That is why a February 14th Associated Press story by Sarah Karush about getting food to such children when schools were closed during the recent snow storms in Maryland caught my attention.

Ms Karush wrote, “The nonprofit groups that try to meet the need when school is not in session also closed for much of the week, leaving many families looking at bare cupboards.”

During these back to back and bigger than usual storms in mid February Marla Caplon, Supervisor of Food Services for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland worried about how the 43,000 Montgomery County public school children that are eligible for free or reduced price lunches would eat during these storms since schools were closed for several days.

So Caplon arranged for Manna Food Center, a local food bank whose board she leads, to take boxes of food to the two schools closed the longest amount of time. The automated phone system of the schools notified parents of the food distribution.

At one school, Karush reports , “…members of about 200 families walked up to a Manna truck in the school’s bus bay……They filled plastic shopping bags with cans of soup, vegetables, and beans, ground beef and Rice Krispies Treats.”

‘Everybody’s at home, and everybody’s eating,’ said one mother, who came to pick up food for her family of five. ‘I have nothing left in my house.’”

Today there are at least 12 million children going hungry in America. The lack of proper nutrition for babies and children leads to reductions in physical growth, and to impaired brain and cognitive development both before and after birth.

I applaud Marla Caplon for her work and her caring spirit in feeding these children.

“I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.” Matthew 25:35
Featured Recipe    No Mayo Tuna Salad

Today I will share with you an easy, nutritious, and very thrifty, no mayonnaise tuna fish salad. As a bonus, I will also share two other dishes you can make with canned tuna fish.

Tuna fish, even canned tuna fish, is inexpensive and very nutritious.

The health benefits of tuna include lowering of blood pressure, coronary heart disease prevention, Alzheimer’s prevention, cancer prevention, macular degeneration prevention, and arthritis relief. Pretty good for a lowly can of tuna fish. In addition according to this web site, “Tuna is an excellent source of protein, and while some vitamin and mineral losses occur during canned tuna processing, the protein nutritive values are not dramatically changed. Tuna is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, protein, potassium, selenium, and vitamin B12. It’s a very good source of niacin and phosphorus.”

This recipe is one of  my “Clean Out the Refrigerator So I Don’t Have to Put It Down the Garbage Disposer Recipes.”  Being single I have a lot of these recipes since grocery stores cater to families.

This is what you will need:

2 cans tuna fish                                  Cost $2.00

2-3 tablespoons olive oil                       Cost $6.39/17oz      3 tbspns  $.57

1-2 ribs of celery chopped                   Cost for stalk 1.29   2 ribs $.30

1-2 green onions                                Cost for 12/$.98       2 onions $.16

½ small can chopped black olives        Cost of 2.25 oz can $.99  1/2 can $.45

1 hard boiled eggs chopped                 Cost for 2 eggs $.13

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost for 3 people = $3.61
Cost per person = $1.12

Here is what you do:

Drain the tuna fish and place equal amounts on plates for each person

Drizzle some olive oil over tuna fish

Season with salt and pepper

Top with the celery, then with the green onions, the olives, and last with the eggs

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and adjust seasonings

This is the basic recipe.

But you can add all sorts of other things you find in your refrigerator. I often add chopped tomatoes, chopped capers, chopped carrots, even chopped anchovies to this tuna salad. Like I said, look in your refrigerator and use up what ever you have left that you might like on this tuna salad.

You can serve with soup and crackers or bread, whatever you can afford.

Canned Tuna on Bread

Mix a can of tuna (Cost $1.00) with a couple of chopped anchovies* (Cost $.42), some finely minced garlic (Cost $.13), some minced green onions Cost $.08), and a few chopped capers (Cost $.33)

Place on some good crusty bread sliced into rounds (2 small rolls $.98)

Drizzle with EVOO (Cost $6.39/17 oz;  3 tablespoons $.57) and salt and pepper to taste

Total Cost = $3.51
Cost Per person = $1.17

*Can be omitted if you do not like anchovies, but I swear they are hard to detect in this recipe.

Creamed Tuna on Toast

1 can tuna, drained (Cost $1.00)

1-2 hard boiled eggs chopped (Cost $.13-$.26)

1 can cream of chicken soup (Cost $1.00)

½ box of frozen peas and carrots (Cost $1.19 for box  ½ box $.69)

½ cup milk (Cost $1.89 quart  1 cup $.47)

3 slices of bread  (Cost $1.00 loaf/25 slices  3 slices $.12)

Salt & pepper

Mix the, soup, milk, and peas and carrots together in a pan

Heat through

Taste, add S&P if needed

Spoon mixture over toast

Top with the chopped eggs

Total Cost = $3.54
Cost per person = $1.18  
Bon appétit!!!kkk
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