1/13/17  Smoothies at breakfast this morning were a hit!  We had three varieties of smoothie going and the clients, as usual, were running through them like champs. Thanks a million to last Friday’s crew for prepping all of the apples and bananas that we needed for this week and thank you to Julie as well for donating those very apples and bananas!  Please stay tuned for updates and tweaks to the program over the coming weeks, there are exciting nutrition developments in the works.

1/9/17  We’re so exited about our first media appearance! Buy the January issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine and flip to page 34!

1/1/17  Happy New Year! When we launched Farm to Shelter last June we partnered with Life Alive, an organic restaurant and good health haven in Lowell, to design our first healthy smoothie recipe, we wondered how our clients would react. Would they drink something thick, green, and presented by a group of cheery nutrition interns and kitchen volunteers? And the answer was YES! …eventually. After many test samples, some not quite sweet enough, some a little too chunky, we came up with winners like triple berry protein, maple apple, and anything with peanut butter. By mid July people were asking “When is smoothie day?” “Is today a smoothie day?” “Can I have thirds?”

We now serve smoothies three days a week, and hope to add more days over the next year. We will be welcoming health and wellness interns from UMass Lowell in 2017 and working to better integrate the gains we have made towards better health in 2016 with Community Meals by encouraging more salads, produce, and home cooking, and less (not that we would get rid of them altogether…we still want to have a sweet now and then) deserts like cake and cookies.

As nutritious food continues to infiltrate the kitchen here at LTLC, our next big goal will be education; spreading awareness and helping people in need make better, more informed decisions about what they eat and how it affects the way they feel.

Posts from 2016:

12/14/16 ~ Thank you for the great article from Ed Brennen! UML Graduate Ambassadors scrubbed the walls and cleaned our kitchen, what a job.. Thank you all, LTLC is grateful. https://www.facebook.com/ed.brennenhttps://www.uml.edu/…/stor…/2016/Graduate-Volunteer-Day.aspx

12/2/16 ~ Everyone Needs Protein fundraising team were able to get an anonymous donation of 3 giant tubs of protein powder from our Amazon wish list! Help us spread the word about Everyone Needs Protein!

11/24/16 ~ Pumpkin pie smoothies to kick off our Gratitude Wreath Celebration!

11/3/16 ~ Today’s Maple smoothies using ingredients from Gaining Ground. We launched the new flavor using their Maple Syrup, the ingredients are frozen apples, non-fat greek yogurt, ice, vanilla almond milk, and 1/4 cup of maple syrup. They were tremendous!

10/19/16 ~ Inspired by a huge donation of peanut butter from The Cheesecake Factory at the Burlington Mall- the F2S team launched a new smoothie this morning: Banana, peanut butter, protein powder and Milk. The protein-packed breakfast smoothie got rave reviews from clients. This will be a new and ongoing addition to smoothie days.

10/2/16 ~ All stocked up on greens! We’re on a search for tupperware donations. Turns out the plastic bags are tough to reuse.

9/12/16 ~ Very timely article just published about a recent local study of nutrition, homelessness, and soup kitchens: http://www.mhsa.net/blogs/homelessness-and-nutrition. “The most significant barriers to accessing healthy foods were budget constraints and space constraints. A majority of the sites noted that guests responded favorably to healthier food options when available and that the most popular of these options were fruits and vegetables.”

9/8/16 ~ We had our first line at the smoothie station today! And clients are coming back for more!

9/7/16 ~ Gettin’ down with the operations process today! Pre-packed baggies of frozen goodies put together the night before, ready for the smoothie making crew the next day.img_1428

8/22/16 ~ Volunteer recruiting is a great success! We served full size 12 ounce smoothies at breakfast today and ready to finalize our operational process.IMG_1391 (1)

8/8/16 ~ First Day of Smoothie Volunteer Training.

18/5/16 ~ The new Blendtec arrived!

7/28/16 ~ Serving strawberry banana smoothies. “Delicious! Very refreshing, especially on a day like today.” ~Catherine M.

7/21/16 ~ Volunteer recruiting starting today! Starting in September we will be training smoothie makers. Contact volunteer@ltlc.org to learn more.

7/20/16 ~ Announcing our partners! Mill City Grows, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, UMass Lowell, Life Alive, Verrill Farm, Gaining Ground, and Whole Foods.

7/18/16 ~ First day serving nutritious smoothies to our clients. They were a big hit at lunchtime!

6/20/16 ~ First healthy smoothie recipe testing by our volunteers – Felicia from Mill City Grows, Joan and Kylie our regular SmoothieTestingvolunteers, Charlette working on her practicum (UML) and Danielle from Life Alive.

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