Pieces of the Puzzle by Mae Nash, Bay Area Food Bank

August 9, 2013
by Mae Nash

The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities across the country. The Child Hunger Corps initiative is sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

In August 2013, the 11 Corps members from the second cohort will complete their two-year service terms at Feeding America member food banks and 6 new Corps members will begin their service terms, forming the fourth cohort of Child Hunger Corps members. This post is by second cohort member Mae Nash, Child Hunger Corps member at the Bay Area Food Bank, who completed her two year service term in July.

"Ending hunger — simple, just provide more food." He said matter-of-factly.

"Yes…but don't you think its increasing food access in addition to other changes?" I asked.

I understood his outlook. After all, prior to my Child Hunger Corps experience I believed the solution to hunger was narrow: provide more food. However, because hunger's effects are comprehensive, it will take a multifaceted approach to truly relieve our community of hunger. While providing food is a critical way to reduce hunger and its effects, it shouldn't be the only solution employed.

Nowhere could I have learned this better than working with my host food bank on the Ending Child Hunger in Alabama campaign, a state-wide initiative launched out of the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University to collaboratively develop solutions to tackle child hunger. The campaign's strategies to reduce hunger extend beyond food provision.

Solutions also include educating families on healthy living, increasing outreach for programs like SNAP (food stamps) that provide economic stability, advocating for livable wages, and strengthening the regional food system and presence of community gardens to encourage healthy eating and agricultural sustainability. Campaign members come from varied sectors and backgrounds, and they bring their personal expertise to brainstorm diverse strategies to reduce hunger. By working together we develop the best strategies to tackle hunger in its entirety.

My work with Feeding America has helped me understand that every individual and organization has a role to play in ending hunger. Our unique experiences and knowledge equip us with a particular perspective that just might be the much needed missing piece to reduce hunger and its effects. No matter your background or the career path you've chosen, I hope you realize you are an important piece of the puzzle to end hunger.

Tags: Hunger in America , Feeding the Gulf Coast

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