Tag Archives: hunger

Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 2

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This week at the Come to the Table Promedica Workshop at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA, I had a chance to listen to the panel discussion on what is working and what we need to work on  in the fight against hunger.

Harriet Giles, PHD, Managing Director from Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Director of External Relations, College of Human Sciences Auburn University – discuss about the Alabama model delivery trucks for the Summer Children’s Program which provides healthy meals for children during the summer months when school is closed.

Susan Respess – Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Vice President of Government Relations of Children’s of Alabama – talked about medical compliance relationship with kids access to food in order to take their medications.

Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, PHD, MPA – Senior Adviser, Hunger Impact of AARP Foundation – discussed that the revised version of the My Plate has been very effective in the fight against hunger.  Ms. Lewin-Zwerdling did said what is not effective is that alot of the  50+ years older adult population are having a lack of money,  poor locations and availability to healthy foods.  This population group are usually tremendous effected by the food deserts in their communities.

Duke Storen, Senior Director, Research, Advocacy and Partner Development of Share Our Strength explained that 1 in 5 children have fallen into the category of food insecurity.  What is working to fight hunger is the school breakfast program, WIC, food skill education programs from individual grants and SNAP for low income children. What is not working is less participation in SNAP program.  What could work better is the benefits and funding levels of the SNAP program needs to increase particularly for the out of school time such as after school programs, weekends and summertime.  Mr. Duke Storen explained that there is more poverty is in the suburbs than in the inner cities.  Mr. Duke Storen gave us a Five Points Plan that will assist with eliminating hunger.

5 Points Plan

  1. Screening
  2. Direct Services – Ex. WIC
  3. Leadership
  4. Metric Driven Based Program
  5. Funding
  6. Advocacy

Debbie Britt – Board Member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and Executive Director Community & Public Relations, Piedmont Fayette Hospital explained what is working is the collaboration with the communities with transportation issues to healthier supermarkets, helping the community with changing their lifestyle and having physical exercise programs at Senior Centers such as Zumba and providing Meals on Wheels programs.  Ms. Britt did explained what is not working is that hospital not understanding the importance of learning about nutrition and that Medicaid does not pay for nutritional services.

At the end of the workshop, Mike Beier from President and CEO, ContXt, gave us a  Engaging the Community to End Hunger:  Meeting in  a Box  Dialogue game where you can have a engaging group discussion about ways that the community can end hunger.  I can not wait to use this with my clients and community leaders. This one day workshop was a excellent event and hopefully we will have more voices who are willing to fight against hunger  and make it a health issue!

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Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 1

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I had the excellent opportunity to come to the incredible 2nd annual Regional Summit Workshop on Hunger that was presented by Promedia and the Alliance for Hunger.  This workshop was held at the beautiful grounds of the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.  The workshop started off with Barbara Petee who is the Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer of Promedia.  She discussed about how obesity ties in with hunger and that hunger is a public health and moral issue.  She stated that the only way to find a solution to end hunger is to address it.

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Next came Lee Hammerling, MD works with Promedia as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Physician Executive of Promedia.   Dr. Hammerling discussed about Promedia which is a community based, mission driven, non-for-profit business that is employee strategically focused and fiscally sound.  Promedia’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.   Dr. Hammerling also discussed about public healthcare where the annual cost of hunger to every U.S. citizen is on pace to b e a rough amount of $42,400 per citizen over a course of a lifetime.  The overall cost of hunger to our nation’s amount to be at least $167,5 Billion.  Promedia believes that the healthcare system should take a leadership role – clinically, socially and economically. Dr. Hammerling spoke about how remission key risk factors and social determinants can impact a person’s health. Lack of transportation + lack of food = remission to hospital.

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Audrey Rowe, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service(FNS), U.S. Department of Agriculture spoke about the FNS Consumer Service mission to end hunger and improve nutrition in America.  She also explained about food insecurities that in about 360,000 households that 1 to more children simply do not get enough to eat.  This is the Healthy people 2020 ten year focus on economic cost, hunger cost and health disparities. Programs that have been fighting hunger for children are the  SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which has been in existence for 50 years and WIC (Women, Infant and Children) which has been in existence for 40 years.  SNAP consist of the Commodity Food Assistance program,  Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and Health Incentives.  There is also the FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program) which supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase such as Farmer’s Markets and mobile markets.

Next week, I will discuss about the Panel Discussion on what is working and what is not working with the fight for eliminating hunger.

Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia

 

During this holidays season, there will be one out of every six people in the United States or more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children and 4 million seniors – faces hunger. Hunger is not just a problem in struggling Third World countries.  I was invited to come to the The Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA  to the Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger seminar and I was in shock with everything that I have heard.

There are 10 states with residents who are especially burdened with food insecurity and do not know where they will get their next meal.  The states are Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada and California.  Americans facing hunger have limited budgets and are routinely forced to make difficulty choices with their limited resources.   One of the choices with the most devastating consequences is whether to buy food or the medicine and medical care needed to survive. Underweight babies are also at a higher risk of hunger as they age, further compounding the difficulties they face. Without access to good nutrition, particularly in their first three years of life, these children lack the solid foundation for physical and mental health, educational achievement, and economic productivity.  Adults experiencing food insecurity are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes and more likely to experience mental and behavioral healthy problems, including higher levels of depression and anxiety.

So what can we do about ending hunger?  Well, this seminar is going to answer this question and will show us how we can get involved in to make hunger a health issue that all our healthcare leaders can address to our Congress and other government departments and agencies.  Next week I will talk about the presentations that were discussed during the seminar.

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Touring the Atlanta Community Food Bank

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I was truly excited that I had the chance of touring the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  The Atlanta Community Food Bank has been founded in 1979 and it has procures over 45 million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies serving families and individuals in 29 metro Atlanta and north Georgia counties.  Here is some background information about the Atlanta Community Food Bank below:

Atlanta Community Food Bank utilizes more than 1,000 volunteers a month, over 100 staff members, a large fleet of trucks and a 129,000 square-foot facility to procure and distribute food and grocery items received from hundreds of donors. Our donors include manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers, restaurants, food drives, gardens and individuals. The product is easily accessed by our partner agencies. They place their orders online and arrange for pick up or delivery. Once the food arrives at the agency, it is provided to families and individuals in need.

The mission of the Atlanta Community Food Bank is to fight hunger by engaging, educating and empowering our community. While our core work is food distribution, our efforts extend far beyond that. Our mission is lived out every day through seven projects that help engage, educate and empower both people in need and those who want to help. From supporting community gardens to assisting people in finding economic security, ACFB covers a wide range of opportunities for people to learn and get involved. Our seven projects are Atlanta Prosperity Campaign, Atlanta’s Table, Community Gardens, Hunger 101, Hunger Walk/Run, Kids In Need and Product Rescue Center.

ACFB’s Community Gardens project offers assistance to more than 100 new and existing gardens across metro Atlanta. Volunteers and neighbors come together to grow fresh, healthy food to nourish communities and neighborhoods.

The benefits of Community Gardening are boundless. It stimulates social interaction, beautifies neighborhoods and produces nutritious foods while reducing food budgets. Each garden is a joint effort where friends and neighbors not only share responsibilities, but often the rewards of their harvest as well!

Our tour guide of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) was Linda Wood and she explained that the new building that the ACFB is in a green living building.  What I saw while begin there that everything was recycled including the outdated donated foods.   There is a machine that ACFB uses called the Digestor which uses special enzymes that break down the food like your own stomach but turns the food into recycle water for the whole building.  Now that is truly green living!!

ACFB also has a very much so up dated with technology that the food client recipients are able to purchase the food online and schedule a time for picking up their food.  Instead of waiting 2 hours they now wait for 15-20 minutes.  Starting in January 2014, ACFB will start a food ranking system in their warehouse where a color coded system will be used to help distribute healthy foods options to all the churches and centers that are involved in the ACFB program.  Currently, ACFB has no nutritional analysis system to let these organizations know which foods are healthy.  ACFB has hired a Registered Dietitian Consultant to assist with making this nutritional analysis system.

An interesting note that for the ACFB clients demands is not so much with food but the highest demand ticket item is Laundry Soap and Diapers!!  So if you want to donate food to the ACFB make sure you add in also these 2 high ticket items to your donation.

Alot of people think that the homeless population is the largest group who come to the ACFB to seek for assistance when it is actually the children who make up about 40% and working families who make up about 36%.  Below are some further statistics from the ACFB:

Over the past three years, the number of Georgia households receiving food stamps has increased by 62%. (Georgia DHR, 2012.)

More than one in every four Georgia children – 28.8% of our children – now live in food insecure households. This is up from 28.3% last year

Nearly 1.8 million Georgians (19.1%) are living in poverty according to the latest US Census Bureau American Community Survey.

In Georgia, the two largest groups that needs assistance is Children – 40% and the Working Poor.

I have really learned alot from this tour at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  I encourage people to get involve with your community especially with the ACFB.  For more information about ACFB – http://www.acfb.org/

Click here for more photos at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Next week, I will discuss about the Atlanta Farmer’s Market.

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World Food Day 2013

PrintOctober 16th is World Food Day, offering the opportunity to strengthen national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food security and agricultural development.  World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1979.  This year’s theme is Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.  For more information on about World Food Day click the website:  http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/

I had a chance to stop by the  Atlanta Community Food Bank and did an incredible tour with the 4 H group from Douglas County, Georgia.  While during the tour, I had a chance to check out the Hunger 101 presentation which is particular important for World Food Day.  The Hunger 101 presentation  showed to increase awareness about hunger and poverty on the local, state and national levels.  This presentation is a interactive and participating community food game is showing you what is like to live in a day of a person who is a Atlanta Community Food Bank client.  The object of the game is to find out how much money you will need to purchase nutritious foods.  There where alots of obstacles that were in the way such as living 30 miles away from the places you need assistance, lack of transportation, keeping a very low budget by living on a minimum wage of $5.75 in the State of Georgia, poor access to healthy foods at the local market store, continuous paperwork to fill out for assistance, long lines and unfriendly rude workers at the assistance offices and the list goes on and on.  It was extremely hard to get healthy food especially when some of the people who were working underpaid full-time did not have the time to apply for these resources and had to accept what was sold at the local market near their home which had no fresh fruits and vegetables but had only sweets and was very expensive in prices.  This exercise gave the 4 H group students a life lesson on how hard it is to access healthy nutritious foods and that places like the Atlanta Community Food Bank is especially needed in all communities.  For more information about Hunger 101 presentation click the website below:   http://www.acfb.org/about/our-programs/hunger-101#workshops

Next week, I will talk about the Atlanta Community Food Bank tour.  Do not miss this!