14 August 2013

Food Advocate Alert August 2013

The Food Advocate Alert
August 2013

The Return of the Food Advocate Alert

by

Gina Cornia

Welcome to Utahns Against Hunger’s new e-newsletter. We have been talking for years about doing something to let our supporters know about the good work we are doing in outreach, policy and Real Food Rising.
Historically UAH published a newsletter called the Food Advocate Alert.  Looking through the binders with old copies of the newsletter has been revealing.  In some ways it feels like we haven’t made much progress.  An article in the April/May 1989 issues reports efforts to remove the sales tax on food.  Removing the sales tax on food is still part of our advocacy agenda.  In other ways we have made strides, with community partners we've strengthened programs like WIC. and the Summer Food Service Program, which in the 80’s were in their infancy.
At our core we are the same organization that we were those twenty plus years ago.  UAH staff is a small but passionate group of people who care deeply about making sure that all Utahns have access to food- food that is healthy, food that helps them live full lives, and making sure low-income families don’t go to bed hungry. You will read about our efforts here and whether it's Mike reporting on the expansion of the “back 40” for Real Food Rising or Marti writing about why we need to be paying more attention to senior hunger we hope you will find it engaging.  You will also hear from our three Volunteers in Service to America (V.I.S.T.A.) members.  Their work in our broader community is helping us build capacity to have a greater reach. And we hope that you will use it as a tool to make change in your community, because we will ask you to take action on important issues; like the Farm Bill or state legislative issues.  So welcome back Food Advocate Alert, you've been missed.


Advocate Alerts

In the Spotlight:
Ben, Real Food Rising's Returnee

Returning for a second year to Real Food Rising (RFR), Ben is eager to expand upon his knowledge of organic farming, plants and nutrition education. As a crew member last year, the program sparked his interest in farming and he came back this year to share what he learned last year with this year's crew, make new friends, and improve his confidence when talking with new people. Ben is a refugee from Burma and he feels that he does not have a lot of confidence upon first impression, but he has become a  great role model for his peers. Though some of the newness of the first year has worn off, Ben is excited to be a part of the process of expanding the farm and is cannot wait to see the back lot developed!

Supporting the Summer Food Service Program

I am so excited to be doing a year of service as an Americorps VISTA member of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger's Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps for Utahns Against Hunger. Part of my work as a "hunger-fighter" is connecting low income families to the SFSP (Summer Food Service Programs) site locations.
For over 20 years, UAH has created SFSP flyers in partnership with the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) which are then distributed to partner agencies across the state. Our toll free number is printed on banners that are placed in front of summer meal sites. This year, we distributed over 15,000 SFSP flyers across Utah and have already fielded 177 calls regarding summer meal locations, times, and dates! We've been impressed by the variety of the meals served, such as those in Provo School District. With the Heber City meal site bursting at the seams, Darren Wilkens, nutrition services director at Wasatch School District, has already started thinking about adding an additional site next summer!
It melts my heart to see these kids enjoying a healthy, nutrious meal that they would miss out on if this program was not in place. Being able to give back to the community is what I was born to do, and I know my small contributions to the hunger movement goes a long way into the bellys of deserving children. Meals are starting to wind down for the summer, but we are looking forward to working with USOE and the school districts next year to expand the reach of the SFSP program!
-Lavonda and Marissa

Real Food Rising: Learning and Growing in Year 2 

It’s been a hot summer, and at Real Food Rising we’re wrapping up some long work hours with our second Summer Youth Program and the launch of the Youth Farm Mob internship.  While we work on developing an additional acre of farmland at our Neighborhood House location, our summer crew workers have been laboring to harvest fresh produce and supply it to local hunger relief organizations.  Every Tuesday our crews take the fresh food they’ve grown to St. Vincent de Paul’s soup kitchen or Hildegarde’s food pantry and serve it up.  The launch of the Youth Farm Mob this year has been successful as a crew of 5 youth and 2 college leaders work to strengthen local gardens and farms by helping when they need it most.  If you have or know of a farm that could use the help of a youthful labor task force next summer, please get in touch with us so that we have you on our radar for next year! 

Want to get involved with RFR?  Sign up for a fall harvest volunteer day or bring your class out to the farm for an interactive field trip.  Email Sara for more information crowder@uah.org or call us at the office.
-Sara

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