Understand Hunger in Your Community and Develop a Plan to End Hunger
Why Should I Care? Ending hunger in America is a monumental task. There are many factors that contribute to hunger, and they often differ from community to community. While a great deal of data exists on hunger at the national level, and to a lesser extent at the state level, an accurate assessment of the food security of individual counties and communities is much harder to obtain. Depending on the specific needs of a community, some approaches to ending hunger may be much more effective than others. If a community does not understand its unique food security challenges, it is much more difficult for that community to effectively address the problem. As such, a key step towards ending hunger is to first understand the unique challenges and causes in your community. You can form innovative partnerships with local stakeholders that have the potential to make huge strides towards ending hunger in your area. Dozens of communities and a handful of states have developed plans for ending hunger in their area, resulting in important effects on policy and program funding.
What Can I Do? Bring together community stakeholders to analyze hunger in your community Use this USDA Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit to analyze the hunger situation in your community: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EFAN02013/
Draft a plan to end childhood hunger Gather local stakeholders from business, social services, faith and non-profit organizations together to draft and implement a plan to end hunger. http://strength.org/state_partnerships/
Help increase SNAP participation in your community Use the Community Partner Outreach Toolkit to increase SNAP participation in your community: This toolkit is full of great resources and tips. In it, you'll find the latest Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) facts and figures as well as frequently asked questions and program talking points. Take advantage of our tips, templates, and promising practices to ensure you're making the most of your organization's outreach activities. Lastly, don't forget to check out our new cultural competency and disaster outreach materials. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
Impact of Volunteering Your community can benefit tremendously from a thorough understanding of its unique hunger situation. Once you can show your local elected officials, faith-based and community leaders, and other community stakeholders how hunger affects your community, you will be in a much stronger position. This could lead to forming meaningful and lasting partnerships that will have a huge impact on ending hunger in your area. Others who have done this have formed state or city-wide food policy councils to continue the work.
Success Story The Maryland Governor's Office for Children (GOC) coordinates child and family-oriented care with the Children's Cabinet to create and promote an integrated, community-based service delivery system for Maryland's children, youth and families. The Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland includes a strong coalition of organizations and agencies on the national and local levels, representing the private and public sectors, including the Maryland State Department of Education, Advocates for Children and Youth, the Maryland Food Bank, Share Our Strength, Maryland Hunger Solutions/Food Research and Action Center, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Human Resources. They have developed a plan and measurements that will track their progress and create the necessary partnerships to impact the lives of Maryland's most vulnerable children. http://strength.org/state_partnerships/