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[Local] Feed Fayetteville

[Local] Feed Fayetteville

| On 28, Apr 2013

A couple years ago my friend Laura was speaking to our MOPs group about the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (which, by the way, is the benefiting organization for this year’s Listen to Your Mother Northwest Arkansas show) when she mentioned that 1 in 4 children in Washington County is food insecure.

That statistic stuck with me. I think about it often. What if my daughter had to grow up food insecure? Kids are supposed to be carefree, but so many don’t have their basic needs met.

One day as I rounded the corner inside Charlie’s school and saw her class sitting on their color spots for story time listening to the teacher read¬†Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?¬†I started counting them.

1, 2, 3… There are twelve students in her class, so according to Laura’s statistic three of them could be food insecure. My daughter goes to a private preschool, so that’s probably not the case, but in a typical public school it very well could be.

So then I started to imagine what life would be like for those kids. I randomly picked two of her classmates and stood there thinking about each of their little lives. What home life would be like. How their school experience would be different.

But for the grace of God, there go I.

And I started to tear up. My life could’ve been like that. Technically, I was a ward of the state until I was 18 years old, but because my grandparents stepped in I was never in the foster care system or left with neglectful parents.

That experience in the hallway at my daughter’s school was months ago, possibly last fall. For the most part it wasn’t top of mind, but last week I decided it was time to stop being sad about hungry kids and time to take action, so I emailed my friend Laura something rambling to the effect of:

“Hey Laura,

Where do kids who rely on school lunches eat during the summer? Who helps them? Can I help them? I can buy bananas and string cheese at Aldi and take it to them, but where are they?”

I’m sure Laura was thinking I had possibly lost my mind and that I was sweetly naive about how these things work, but she didn’t let that on in her response. She kindly connected me with her friends at the local food hub Feed Fayetteville, and those nice people invited me to their newly acquired (but quite old) building to learn more.

Feed Fayetteville: Doing a lot with very little.

  • They worked to get SNAP (Food Stamps) accepted at the local Farmer’s Market
  • They provide a Farm-to-Head Start garden program
  • They teach gardening and provide raised bed gardens for SNAP recipients
  • They teach food preserving techniques like canning and freezing
  • They are hoping to have a training kitchen
  • They collect unsold food from the Farmer’s Market vendors and distribute it to local food pantries
  • They work with local churches and organizations to provide weekly meals to the community

Feed Fayetteville does all this with a shockingly small staff. Supporting Feed Fayetteville is different than supporting a mega charity where my dollars might go to pay the salary of the marketing director’s assistant. No thanks. I don’t have a lot of dollars to give, so it’s important to me that my contribution has an impact.

How can we help?

I would love to find a way to come together as a blogging community and do something awesome for this organization. Any ideas? I could really use some help with ideas.

In the meantime, connect with Feed Fayetteville on Facebook to learn about immediate opportunties.