Q: I just heard at church on Sunday that we can donate food to Just Food. What exactly is it?
A: Just Food is a partnership of local pantries and community groups to gather and share food so that every person in our community will have enough to eat. Just Food serves as a coordinating group to make it easy for the community to donate food and funds for local pantries.
Four Lawrence Food Pantries are coordinating efforts: ECKAN, the Pelathe Community Resource Center, the Salvation Army and Trinity Interfaith. In addition, community groups have stepped forward to join the partnership. They include Lawrence Hy-Vee stores, Lawrence Farmers Market, the Community Mercantile, Kansas University's School of Social Welfare, KU Center for Community Outreach and K-State Research and Extension in Douglas County. In addition, several churches have gotten actively involved, including: Corpus Christi and St. John's Catholic Churches, Trinity Episcopal Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Plymouth Congregational Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Church of the Nazarene, Ninth Street Baptist Church and Ecumenical Christian Ministries.
Q: How does Just Food work?
A: Just Food is working to set up multiple food supply sources to create a more reliable supply of food throughout the year. These include monthly food gathering by local congregations and numerous annual food drives, sponsored by local businesses, community groups, KU, Haskell Indian Nations University and Lawrence school district youths. Just Food also is a member of Harvester's Community Food Network, allowing food purchases at greatly reduced rates.
The Farmers Market and Community Mercantile became partners this summer through a gleaning program in which vendors contributed surplus produce.
A new program will be initiated Oct. 28 through Lawrence Hy-Vee stores. Customers can make donations at the cash register with funds available to Just Food for future food purchases.
To receive needed food, families and individuals need to be Douglas County residents. They are asked only for their name, family size, address and income. They can receive food at least once each month.
Any person, group, agency, or organization is welcome to join us in our efforts to feed hungry families. Contact ECKAN at 841-3357 or call me at 843-7058 for more details.
Q: What is couscous?
A: Couscous (pronounced koos-koos) is a staple in North African cooking. It is made with semolina flour from durum wheat. Couscous also is made with 100 percent whole wheat flour to help add whole grains to the diet.
Couscous is simple to prepare and use. Because it is precooked before it is dried, it cooks quickly within 10 minutes. It can be served hot in main dishes or cold in side salads. The added flavors in recipes are absorbed into the couscous.
Couscous is typically found in specialty food stores but now is readily available in many grocery stores in plain or flavored varieties. This complex carbohydrate food also provides nutrients such as fiber, folate and potassium. For more information and recipes about couscous, see http://tinyurl.com/g3dbw.