This week, about 20 leaders from organizations in the fight against food insecurity gathered at the Thriving Thistle. They represented food pantries, food banks, education institutions, healthy food programs, wellness organizations, and funders.
Together, this group and others who were not able to attend are setting out to end food insecurity in our community. The first step, an asset map to better understand who is doing what, and where there are gaps.
Here's a snapshot of the network that works to address food insecurity:
VOLUNTEERS LEAD THE WAY
Dozens of fully volunteer-led organizations make up an informal network of programs and places where people can access free and low-cost food to meet their basic needs. Including:
7-8 food pantries (all volunteer-led and often supported by churches)
the River Bend Food Bank supports most local food pantries
Schools & Agencies Support Youth & the Elderly
School Breakfast & Lunch programs
School Backpack programs (even a Library Backpack program)
Regional Transit delivers meals to the elderly
Jo Daviess Local Food – a coalition of local growers gives healthy local foods to/through food pantries.
After reviewing the asset map the team focused on a set of key questions including:
How do we better understand the need? Who? Where?
How well are we meeting the needs of young people during summer and holidays when school is out?
What strategies can best serve our rural elderly population?
How do we build the capacity of our existing partners?
What State or Federal programs are we not leveraging?
What other partners can we engage to meet the need?
How do we make more affordable, healthy food available in the first place so people can buy more of their own food?
What do you see that we can do better?
The Food Insecurity Project will gather again in the Fall to begin to address the Key Questions.
If you are interested in joining the Food Insecurity Project email list or events, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.