Hunger is a complex issue that can’t be easily resolved by a simple solution. Instead, we need to utilize different resources to support our neighbors with the many factors that relate to food insecurity.
That’s why we have developed 5 key Workgroups, led by co-chairs with extensive expertise in those areas, to tackle the hunger problem.
Ending food insecurity in our community will not only benefit the families that need food, it will improve our economy and uplift our healthcare system.
$1 spent on fresh produce for people dealing with food insecurity results in a $2.54 return on investment in savings for healthcare programs for the community.
To learn more about the kinds of issues Smith County’s children face, we will work with the school system to incorporate food insecurity screenings into school enrollment forms. Families with children who participate in free and reduced school meal programs will be connected with community food resources. We are also working to develop a school-based food pantry to support local schools in food deserts.
We offer healthcare providers and clinics with training and technical assistance so they can implement Hunger Vital Sign food insecurity screenings into their processes. We will also expand the Partners in Health Program, a food bank healthcare partnership providing nutrition education and healthy food for food insecure families.
We want to teach community members to raise and grow their own food. We will also train members of Smith County on how to divert potential agricultural waste to those in need. We have developed a directory of local agriculture resources, and are piloting a backyard gardening program for families. We will also be connecting local farmers with food pantries through Ample Harvest. Our team includes farmers, master gardeners, educators, and healthy food enthusiasts.
We will provide more access to food by empowering churches and non-profits to link families in need to local food resources. We are enrolling food pantries to 903help.org and ampleharvest.org, as well as connecting food pantry clients to SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid.
Our goal is to reduce the stigma associated with food insecurity. By providing useful resources and information on our website and Facebook page, we can educate the community about hunger. We will map current food resources based on geography and hours to identify gaps. We will also be expanding the ETFB Roadshow Pop-Up program to bring in resources to areas in Smith County with the greatest need. In addition, we plan to develop a toolkit for local businesses and food pantries to better understand food insecurity.