Tag Archives: food insecurity

Join the Hunger Walk/Run, in person or vicariously!

This past Sunday, in conjunction with Rev. Makar’s sermon on poverty, UUCA Give-Away-the-Plate went to the Atlanta Community Food Bank

UUCA is involved with the food bank in several hands-on ways in the “Old Fourth Ward” community of downtown Atlanta. 

This coming Sunday, the 2014 Hunger Walk/Run takes place at Turner Field.  UUCA is not fielding a “team” this year, but you can participate in one of two ways….

1)    Walk or Run yourself!  .  As the Food Bank representative described it, it’s a carnival and run/walk at the same time.  Much fun for individuals and families.  Here’s the link:  https://secure2.convio.net/acfb/site/TRR/HungerWalkAtlantaCommunityFoodBank/HungerWalk/317783248?pg=ptype&fr_id=1600

2)    Support the Operation PEACE team with an online donation.  UUCA is very active with OPEACE and if you donate to that team, they, too, will get some food/financial benefits.  See below:  http://engage.acfb.org/site/TR?px=1285566&pg=personal&fr_id=1600&et=WxXjx3S6kYx3bo6sA8gejA&s_tafId=11020

The WORD From Operation Peace!

I can’t wait to get outdoors, get moving, and have fun, all for a great cause — to help raise much-needed funds for hunger relief in the Old Fourth Ward, and help Operation PEACE continue our work in the community.

I am asking you to help by making a donation. My goal is to raise $1,000 this year so that Operation PEACE can provide our children with healthy and nutritious meals, and make sure no child goes to bed hungry. The youth in our program, like more than 1 in 4 Georgia kids, live in homes where hunger is a regular worry. I want to change that, but I need your help, give today no donation is too small, and the Atlanta Food Bank will match all donations from the Hunger Walk.

It’s fast and easy to make a tax-deductible gift on my behalf. Just click on the link at the bottom of this message to go to my personal fundraising page.  Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Sincerely, Marcel Benoit, Program Director

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://engage.acfb.org/site/TR?px=1285566&pg=personal&fr_id=1600&et=WxXjx3S6kYx3bo6sA8gejA&s_tafId=11020

 

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When Snomageddon Closed Schools this Week, Some Hope-Hill Students Went Hungry

This Sunday, February 16, the UUCA social hall will be filled with information tables for UUCA Social Justice groups.

Four tables feature  groups  that focus on needs of children and families

  • Promise the Children
  • Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership
  • Fiesta de Libros, and
  • Racial and Ethnic Concerns.

1These groups are working with hungry families along the YO Boulevard Corridor, in the halls of Hope-Hill Elementary School (where almost all students qualify for free or reduced prices meals), in the Spanish-speaking communities on Buford Highway, and, through advocacy, on government policies that affect the poor.

Here is a story from National Public Radio that focuses on hunger on snow days….

For Lower-Income Students, Snow Days Can Be Hungry Days

by Jessica Glazer, National Public Radio broadcast

February 12, 2014 2:42 PM

For many Americans it’s been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country’s Northern edges to the Deep South.

When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day’s nutritious meal as well.3

This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

On the first day, some students arrived on empty stomachs because parents thought breakfast would still be served that day.

“Two students were found in our lunchroom waiting to be fed,” says Meredith Allen, a teacher at the school. “Several co-workers had stockpiles of food,” but it wasn’t enough.

2On the second day, after the standard text alert about the delay went out, a second alert followed. This one clarified that breakfast would not be served. During late-start mornings, the school nurse often sees quite a few kids with hunger-related stomachaches, says Allen.

Last year, more than 21 million children nationwide ate free or reduced-price lunches, from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. That’s 70 percent of the total students who ate school lunches, not counting those who brought meals from home. In the same year, more than 23 million households , known as food stamps.

“The sad reality is that some kids don’t have access to food if their nutritious meals come from school and they are unable to go to school,” says Nancy Roman, head of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.

The food bank offers multiple services for children and families, such as a weekend grocery program.

On an individual level, when forecasts predict bad weather, families who are food insecure do what everyone does: They stock up on items ahead of time. But when you’re working with limited resources, this may not be much of an option. If the closure comes toward the end of the month, many lower-income families have run low on benefits by that point. Sometimes, parents skip meals so their children can eat. And not eating breakfast is known to affect student achievement and behavior, such as tardiness, acting out and attention in class.

After weather-related closures, when some kids haven’t gotten the chance to eat proper meals, one Maryland school often sees higher participation in breakfast the day class resumes. Following a recent closure at Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Md. — where 68 percent of students who eat lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals — principal Jennifer Connors told The Salt that kids pushed through the line more than usual.

Each community rallies around its hungry in different ways. In some places, food banks, soup kitchens and YMCAs pick up the slack, providing hot meals or groceries. In rural regions with fewer food banks, churches or the local Boys & Girls Club of America might step in.

Some school districts partner with local nonprofits to feed kids during weekends, as well. The in Maryland runs a program to help feed kids over the weekend. Every Friday, the Smart Sacks program sends more than 2,000 kids home with a 1-pound pack of healthful food.

Manna’s executive director, Jackie DeCarlo, says it’s meant to feed not just the kids but to help out their families, too. The packs include healthful items, such as low-sodium canned vegetables, blueberries in water, brown rice, tuna and “a granola bar for a little bit of a sweet treat,” she said.

In addition to snow days, summer also leaves students hungry. As The Washington Post has reported, one program in Tennessee retrofitted a bus and delivered free meals to kids in impoverished areas.

Despite community resources, sometimes families — and their school-age children — still go hungry.

In Vermont, when extreme cold recently shut down schools, Kathy Alexander, director of the ANESU Food Cooperative, worried about the area’s hungrier students.

“We definitely hear of kids who tell us they don’t have food,” says Alexander. “We hear that a lot, to be honest with you.”

When schools close because of extreme cold, especially in areas where many families struggle to pay for heat as well, Alexander wonders whether closing schools is the best way to go.

“It seems to me the best place to be is in school,” she says. “At least we can get the kids a hot meal.”

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Telling our Stories: “I can’t feed my children.”

From Joy Borra, member
UUCA’s Promise the Children Advocacy and Action Group
 

 “I can’t feed my children.  They all went to school today without breakfast, and I had nothing to give them to eat last night,” the mother whispered to me.  She was embarrassed, but she was also  desperate and scared.

“My husband left me a few weeks ago; I have five children and no income.  I applied for food stamps but they will not begin until March 1.  I don’t know what to do…. I have no money; no food; no transportation; no family to help me.”

I met her today when I helped conduct a Listening Session on Hunger in the Old Fourth Ward (O4W) at  Hope-Hill Elementary School. Three other sessions had been conducted with parents of young children in other parts of the O4W; this was the last.

UUCA volunteers are doing much of the support work for the two elected officials for O4W – Kwanza Hall and Joan Garner (a UUCA member) – as they begin a six- month campaign to find practical ways to bring more nourishing food into the tummies of children, their caregivers and the elderly in O4W..

During the Listening Sessions I had heard parents estimate that 80% of the poor families in this neighborhood run out of food the last week of the month.

I had heard that for large numbers of people it was hard to get to Kroger, so they bought expensive, processed junk food from the corner stores with their food stamps.

My interview participants said that 50% of the single mothers with kids in O4W really didn’t know HOW to cook.  And everyone said the money they had wouldn’t stretch to include fresh fruit ($5 for a bag!), or vegetables.

Yes, I heard a lot.

But today I was face to face with the pinched face of  hunger.  Here was a mother with five young children, who did not know where their next meal would come from.

“I’m not asking YOU to help me,” she whispered.  “But do you know where I can go to get free food for my kids?”

I found a Good Samaritan to take her to Kroger for food. I got her connected to the school social worker who can help her with other emergency needs and with long-term support.  When I called her tonight, the mom was less scared, and very grateful.

Why?

Why should a 3-year-old be allowed to go to bed hungry?  “A child has no control over the family he is born into,” someone said in every Listening Session I conducted.

Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, recently wrote an article lamenting, “Why do we blame the poor for being poor? Feeding them when they are hungry is necessary.  But it is not enough.  We must stand with them and change the policies that hold them in poverty.”

AMEN!!!

Join us

What I saw today was that the social justice work UUCA does is important work!

In UUCA’s Promise the Children advocacy and action group, a growing band of “do-ers” is “doing something” about :

  • Children who go hungry.
  • Children who fall years behind in their schoolwork
  • Children who move from foster care to adulthood with no adult to show them the way.
  • Teenagers who are victimized into prostitution
  • Kids kicked out of school or put in youth jails for being absent or for disrespectful behavior.
  • Poor children who have no healthcare for their physical or mental ills.

You can join us!  Talk to us on Sunday February 16 in the UUCA social hall, email us at promisethechildren@uuca.org , or call me, Joy Borra, at 770-498-2356.

You will fit right in!

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence, Our Stories, The Informed Advocate

Our Food Sharing Project Was a Success

(… and we have the photos to prove it!)

On Sunday, Nov. 24, UUCA members participated in the “Love Thy Neighbor” food sharing project. Here’s the great 2013 packing the boxes 3news:

6769 UUCA food drive colorEighty different UUCA families purchased more than a ton of food—2000 pounds! And the children who helped their parents shop for food were able to pack “their” box and see it taken to the delivery truck.

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Members donated $2,000 to buy hams and other extras.

UUCA’s organic food supplier donated local sweet potatoes.

The UUCA Bread Committee donated bakery items that would have gone unused.

_A446474RE classes wrote messages of thanksgiving to include in each box.

6781 UUCA food drive

6772 UUCA food drive colorLater that Sunday afternoon we delivered 110 food boxes to grateful families in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood waiting to receive them.  6788 UUCA food drive color

What joy in the power of community!   But what’s next? Promise the Children advocates know that this project is not an end; it must be a beginning. Next month, families will be hungry again.

photo 4a

What more can we do?  Right now, it’s advocacy.  A Congressional Conference Committee meets soon to decide how much to cut SNAP benefits – food stamps – again this year. They need to hear from us.

photo 5a

And we’ll look for long-term projects in which UUCA can participate that will reduce hunger at the local level.  That process begins on Dec. 5, when UUCA helps City Councilman Kwanza Hall host the first of several conversations aimed at identifying the gaps between good intentions and people who still lack adequate food in the Old Fourth Ward.

If food insecurity is an issue you care about, let Promise the Children hear from you at PromiseTheChildren@uuca.org and read more on this web site, promisethechildrenatuuca.wordpress.com.

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