Building Mutually Beneficial Community-University Collaborations to Understand and Address Metropolitan Food Insecurity

Building Mutually Beneficial Community-University Collaborations to Understand and Address Metropolitan Food Insecurity

Serving our Neighbors (SON) Ministry is a faith-based organization with a mission to address suburban food insecurity in the Columbus, Ohio area with a focus on the suburban school district of Hilliard. The founder and director, Kim Emch, was shocked to learn about the thousands of children in her suburban community who received free and reduced lunch and breakfast during the school year. What shocked her even more was the realization that when summer hit, many of these children were missing meals. As a person of faith, Kim felt called to provide meals for these children. So, without any non-profit or social service experience, in 2007 Kim founded The Hilliard Free Summer Lunch program for Kids (which in 2009 evolved into SON Ministries) out of her home. Summer Lunch Service Programs are difficult to administer because of logistical and sourcing concerns. These programs are also constrained because of cumbersome federal regulations and requirements. Qualification for free summer lunch programs is determined...
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Food and Faith Conversations in Michigan

Food and Faith Conversations in Michigan

A survey of food pantries released by the Michigan Fitness Foundation in February 2017 [i] shows that a majority of emergency food panties are run by faith based organizations, almost 70% of those have been providing emergency food for more than 10 years and 25% of those have supplied emergency food to those that need for more than 30 years. The cohesive nature of hunger, food access and faith based organizations is clearly nothing new, but in October 2016 at the Michigan Good Food Summit (Hosted by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems), a group of faith leaders held a breakout session to discuss how faith based organizations could work together and organize themselves around the topic of food and faith. Three organizations presented on their activities around food and faith: Hazon Detroit, an organization that is working to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community. Plainsong Farm in Rockford, MI, is a Christian CSA (community supported agriculture) that considers...
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Stories from an Extension Educator Working With Choice Food Pantries

Stories from an Extension Educator Working With Choice Food Pantries

When a pantry converts to a client-choice model, the pantry needs to be in tune with the wants and needs of its constituents. At times, the pantry might wish to shape those wants and needs by offering cooking demonstrations or classes in order to show clients how to use certain products. In Middletown, Ohio a choice pantry had received several pallets of dried figs. The bags of figs sat on the shelves for at least a couple of weeks without many taking them home. The pantry director asked the county Extension office what they could do to move the lonely figs. In response to the request, the SNAP education program assistant embarked on weeks of fig cooking demonstrations and taste testing within the pantry. Fig pudding, fig bread, fig salad, and trail mix were demonstrated and sampled. As a result of these events, 15,000 Ibs of figs were moved! Within the same pantry on a different occasion, the pantry was having...
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