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Sometimes we think we have absolutely nothing in common with another person. While that may be true in many ways, one thing that connects us all is our need for food. We can’t live without it.
We partnered with WhyArts to commission artwork conveying the different causes and realities of food insecurity in Nebraska. Mike Giron, the artist, interviewed individuals from the Heartland Hope Mission in Omaha and the theme of food as a “comfort” quickly emerged. Five thought-provoking pieces were created to help HFH start this conversation in communities across Nebraska.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear “Ice Cream”? Do you remember a fond memory with a family member? Do you think of your favorite flavor? Was it only for “special occasions” when you were a child? When thought of in this way, our relationship with food becomes rather intimate.
Businesses, organizations, and faith communities may host any number of the five pieces for a set amount of time (at no cost) to encourage people to reflect on their own relationship with food. For people who have never been food insecure, this is a first step in empathetically listening to the experiences of those who have – and we believe this is necessary for communities to come together to end childhood hunger.
We’ve seen the images depicting starving children in other countries. Living in a developed country, it can be shocking and overwhelming to know there are so many hungry children in the world. While it is good-intentioned to want to help the children overseas, often we overlook the fact that one in five children in the United States is food insecure. So what does hunger look like in America?
Hunger 101 is a 60 minute training on food insecurity and the effects it has on children in the United States. This group conversation will look at the individual level of hunger and the “domino effect” of potential negative consequences, as well as introducing the five identified solutions to ending food insecurity in Nebraska. Businesses, organizations and faith-based communities are encouraged to host this free training at their site.
Food insecurity does not fall solely on the individual; people can’t help when the only grocery store in their neighborhood closes and the community becomes a “food desert.” Food policy and state/local economies contribute significantly to the individual’s ability to access safe and affordable food.
Hunger 201 builds on the content of Hunger 101 by understanding how individuals are impacted by the community around them. This 60 minute training looks more in depth at the identified solutions for ending hunger and how communities can work together to implement them.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services:
- Nearly 70% of SNAP participants are children and elderly/disabled adults.
- Able-bodied adults are subject to work requirements in order to receive SNAP.
- Documented immigrants aren’t eligible for SNAP until they have been here five years, and must meet the same work requirements; undocumented immigrants are not eligible and therefore do not receive SNAP (or other federal) benefits.
- Alcohol, paper products, and prepared “hot” meals cannot be purchased with SNAP dollars.
- Of all federal programs, SNAP has one of the lowest fraud rates (3%), and the majority of errors are administrative.
Was any of this information surprising? There are a lot of assumptions about federal food programs that are based on incorrect information. We believe sharing the research-based evidence with communities will help increase access to this important strategy in ending hunger. This nonpartisan 60 minute training is available to all businesses, organizations, and faith-based communities, regardless of whether or not the community has participated in Hunger 101 or 201.