The Providence N.E.W. (North East Washington) Hunger Coalition
A Success Story
“The meeting table at our monthly meetings is always full and members bring new people each time. It is amazing what we have accomplished in only 1 year!”– Sarah Nelson, Director of the Loon Lake Food Bank Resource Center
PurposeThe overarching purpose of the Providence N.E.W. Hunger Coalition is to significantly reduce, if not end, poverty induced hunger in Stevens County. We are working to stabilize emergency food distribution while simultaneously working to address the root causes of hunger at a more sustainable and deeper level. Some of the issues being addressed;
- unhealthy eating habits
- lack of access to healthy produce and fruit
- increased risk to pre and post natal mothers
- infant mortality & failure to thrive
- elderly health issues: arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes
- obesity leading to diabetes, heart disease, stroke & asthma
- lack of physical activity
- lack of cooking & gardening & food preservation skills
- how to budget or shop for healthy food
- advertising & availability of unhealthy food
Members – currently 25 members and growing
|Colville Food Bank||Northport Food Bank||WSU Stevens County Extension|
|Loon Lake Food Bank||Ione Food Bank||The Center – A Place for Youth|
|Hunters Food Bank||Cusick Food Bank||Libraries of Stevens County|
|Kettle Falls Food Bank||Orient Food Bank||Providence of Stevens County|
|Ford Food Pantry||Feeding on the Spot||UMC/Ministerial Association|
|Tum Tum Food Bank||Kids Program (Summer Lunch)||County Commissioners|
|Addy Rescue||Rural Resources||School Districts|
|Valley Food BankBethel Ministries||Dept. of Social and Health Services||Tri-County Health District|
Goals to Date
- Building a network of partnerships to share information and effectively use resources.
- Developing sustainable funding systems
- Collaboratively leverage grant money
- Creating local, self-sustaining food sources for fresh vegetables and fruit
- Developing better food distribution systems with growers and inter food bank sharing
- Providing education on cooking, gardening, preserving and budgeting for healthy eating
HistoryThe Hunger Coalition was originally convened by Bob Campbell, Chief Executive of Providence Health Care Stevens County (PHCSC) and Michele Sakurai, Manager of Pastoral Care and Mission (PHCSC) in Colville Washington. They were concerned by the many health related issues of hunger showing up dramatically in the medical system and wanted to do something to address hunger. The first meeting of the Hunger Coalition was in September 2011. Members have been meeting monthly since then at Mt. Carmel Hospital in Colville WA.
Outcomes to Date
- Identification of gaps and unmet needs in Stevens County including: more fresh produce and protein, need for refrigerators, walk-in coolers, and freezers, trucks and transportation from growers to food banks, more links to community gardens and gardeners for fresh food and teaching organic, need for infrastructure repairs on food bank buildings (bad wiring, archaic computers, insufficient space), and need for sustainable funding.
- Identification and action to resolve significant problems with Second Harvest, a major supplier of food to Stevens County food programs; issues with service delivery: lack of fresh produce, undercutting of local fundraising efforts. (June meeting 2012). Second Harvest participants have stated; “the community input model started in Stevens County is now being replicated by us in other service territories.”
- $93,100 in grant awards including;
- $14,000 from Empire Health Foundation for cooking classes for healthy eating – a pilot project in Loon Lake
- $29,600 from Providence Health Foundation for website, public outreach, food preservation classes, VISTA cash match and support
- $19,000 from Inland Northwest Community Foundation for strategic plan, mileage, nutrition education and food preservation classes, public outreach & holiday emergency money, and a mentoring program for new struggling food banks
- $7,50000 from Providence Healthcare Benefit Request Fund for refrigeration units in food dessert food banks
- $12,000 2012 from PHC for start up
- $11,000 2012 from PHC for start up
- Expanding food bank potential building on the fact that people in poverty feel comfortable going to their local food bank. Activities to date include; Partnership with TriCounty Health for free flu vaccines in 2011 and 2012 Initiating interest in partnering with Prescription Assistance to provide space for Prescription Assistance Representatives to meet people in need locally instead of having to travel to the local hospital.
The need – food insecurity leads to health problemsIn 2010, one in six households in Washington experience food insecurity defined as “not having access at all times to sufficient food for an active, healthy life” – likely higher in Stevens County because most of Stevens County is considered a “food dessert” defined as ”lack of access to healthy nutritional food.” The negative effects of food insecurity can be seen in elevated levels of obesity, in elderly people struggling to find enough healthy food, in the depressed development of infants, and increased health risks to pre- and post-natal mothers. Some statistics supporting these statements include;
- Since the beginning of the current recession the number of Washington families struggling with hunger has almost doubled. Washington’s rate of hunger is 11th highest in the nation.
- The per capital personal income in 2010 in Stevens County was $27,894 compared to State of Washington $42,589. (Source: Washington Regional Economic Analysis Project)
- The share of the population living below federal poverty line (FPL) is 17.4% in Stevens County compared to USA rate of 15.3% and Washington State rate of 13.5%. In Stevens County, this percentage rate has increased 18% since 2007 and 5% in 2010 (Source: US Census Bureau: Small Area Income Poverty Estimates).
- Share of K-12 students who are eligible for the USDA Free and Reduced Price lunch in 2011 in Stevens County is 63% compared to Washington State 44%. Since 1999 the share has increased 44% (2% in 2010) (Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Child Nutrition)
- In fall 2010 food banks reported an all-time record of clients. The emergency food system distributed more than 134 pounds of food statewide to 1.5 million clients
- Budget cuts at federal, state, and local levels critical to safety net programs compound the likelihood of long-term poverty and economic insecurity that research has shown leads to hunger, food insecurity and health risks. Growing price of oil is effecting food deliveries to NE Washington
- A 2005 study by UW Center for Public Nutrition 2010 showed that fewer than 60 percent of Washington adults said that they could find healthy food for meals eaten away from home or restaurant and in some cases grocery stores.
- One in four Washington adults are obese – more than double the rate in 1990. Obesity is linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and asthma. Key factors are lack of physical activity and poor eating habits e.g. – sugary beverages, eating too much processed food instead of healthy, nutrient based whole grains, fruits, beans, fruits, vegetable, and low fat and low diary or fat free dairy products.
- Most Washington residents do not follow healthy patterns of eating defined in USDA Dietary Guidelines. Only 26 percent of adults say they eat fruits and vegetable five or more times a day. Source: Report on WA’s Food System Response to Executive Order 10-02 1/2012
Future action – how you can help
- Plant a row for your food bank – 2013 growing season – need donations of fresh produce/fruit
- Better links with community gardens and transportation to community gardens for users of Food Banks to learn how to garden – need gardening instructors and drivers
- Volunteer community mentors to work with our food banks to help low income people know how to grow healthy food, cook and preserve it, show and budget for healthy food, and learn more about nutrition and healthy food.
- Cooking classes – nutritional education for healthy eating – need instructors & money for food
- Food preservation classes – August 2013 – need instructors and $$ for food and equipment (jars freezer bags and tools) for low income participants
- Gleaning project – fall 2013 – need volunteers to harvest crops and transport food to food banks
- A Stevens County Pledge drive in 2013 on behalf of Hunger Coalition members – need donors
- Hunger Coalition will file for 501 (c) 3 status in spring of 2013 – recruiting a committed Board of Directors – let us know if you know anyone who might be interested in serving
- King TV has contacted Kettle Falls Food Bank Director about coming to Stevens County to do a special on “Hunger in our State.” The Hunger Coalition will be featured as an example of a committed group of people who are working to end hunger in Stevens County – need partners.
- Long term goal: to own two farms to grow healthy food for food banks, teach gardening skills, and provide jobs for a healthy food system in Stevens County – need to find the farms/land