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Hunger Free Communities Best Practices

FY2010 Hunger Free Communities Best Practices

 Centro del Obrera Fronterizo, Inc.United Way of King County Governor's Office for Children (Maryland) United Way of New York City  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County  Community Services Planning Council  International Sonoran Desert Alliance  Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County  Poughkeepsie Farm Project  Marywood University  Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey  North County Community Services United Way of Passaic CountyCornell Cooperative Extension of Onedia CountyClick on any name to read their project description


In FY 2010, USDA appropriated $5 million in grant funding for purposes authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 in the section entitled Hunger-Free Communities. The grants were available to food and nutrition organizations, which include state and local governments and non-profit organizations that collaborate with local organizations for projects that assess community hunger problems and/or develop new resources to achieve Hunger-Free Communities.

These Grants offered an opportunity for the selected grantees in partnership with other organizations in their communities to improve access to nutritious food through research, planning, and implementation of hunger relief activities.

Implementation Grant Awards FY2010

The four implementation grantees will use the awarded funds to implement hunger-relief activities to end hunger in their defined communities.

Centro del Obrera Fronterizo - El Paso, TX ($110,065)

The Chamizal neighborhood, also known as South Central El Paso, is one of the poorest urban areas in the nation (The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America, 2008). Almost 60 percent of the area’s residents live below the poverty line, about 56 percent of them women. The median income is $11,362, and almost one in five residents of the Chamizal neighborhood is unemployed. La Mujer Obrera will leverage its community-operated Mexican marketplace, Mercado Mayapán, to increase access to fresh, affordable foods; administer a culturally relevant nutrition education campaign for food service workers and families; and, increase coordination among organizations with a stake in the local food system through improved referrals and the establishment of a Food Policy Council. Specifically, La Mujer Obrera will:

  • Increase access to fresh produce by:
    • ​​​​Engaging with local farmers to increase produce items at Mercado Mayapán.
    • Addressing transportation barriers through neighborhood mobile markets.
    • Incentivizing participation in nutrition education programs.
  • Increase Latino youth, single-parent families, and seniors’ nutrition knowledge and food preparation self-efficacy by:
    • Offering culturally appropriate nutrition education that builds on the assets of the traditional Mesoamerican diet.
    • Conducting nutrition education by leveraging existing community events at Mercado Mayapán.
  • Build long term community capacity to address hunger and strengthen the local food system by:
    • Providing workforce training to employees of food service programs serving low-income Chamizal residents to enhance food-purchasing and preparation skills.
    • Serving as a local site for referrals and application assistance to increase participation in existing nutrition assistance programs.
    • Establishing a Food Policy Council, whose first year efforts will be piloted in the Chamizal neighborhood as the foundation for a region-wide council.
United Way of King County - Seattle, WA ($987,380)

King County, WA, has a population of roughly 1.9 million people and contains city, suburban, and rural communities that are diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, and level of income. The regional high cost of living keeps many diverse families at risk of never escaping poverty. Visits to King County Food Banks have increased by 21% between 2007-2009. King County has the lowest SNAP participation rate among eligible people in the state. Only 11 percent of eligible children participate in Summer Food Service Programs. The United Way of King County project will focus on 4 of 12 initiatives described in the Hunger Relief Now! Plan, thereby reducing hunger among low-income children, senior citizens, immigrants, and refugees. These four initiatives are:

  • Expand Bridge to Basics – an innovative program that trains multilingual volunteers and deploys them throughout the community to connect eligible families with the Washington Basic Food Program (SNAP) and other public benefits.
    • Recruit B2B volunteers three times each year and provide training via WithinReach.
    • Deploy volunteers to outreach locations throughout the community.
    • WithinReach AmeriCorps Team provides support to volunteers at each site.
  • increase participation in Summer Meal Programs by:
    • Increasing site locations through the provision of mini-grants for startup and administration costs.
    • Implement a Summer Meal Outreach Campaign.
    • Working with local partners to provide safe methods of travel for children to access the sites;
    • Extending site days and hours to accommodate the needs of families.
    • Improving program quality through examining nutritional quality and appeal of served foods.
  • Launch two regional coalitions to implement local community based strategies to increase food security among low income children, seniors, and immigrants and refugees.
    • South King County Child Nutrition Collaborative - focusing on increasing food security for low income children in South King County through outreach at key low-income housing complexes and partnering with school districts, local school districts and service providers to address SBP, CACFP, and nutrition education.
    • Rainer Valley Consortium - focusing on increasing food security among low income children, seniors and immigrants and refugees through Community Kitchens, nutrition education, and mini-grants for community based initiatives.
  • increase public awareness and support for Hunger Relief strategies through strategic activities during the yearly Hunger Action Week.
Governor's Office for Children - Baltimore, MD ($923,812)

Although Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, 9.6 percent of households in Maryland (or 1 in 10) face a constant struggle against hunger (2008 USDA food insecurity data). The high cost of living in Maryland contributes to the struggle many families face to pay their housing, transportation and utility bills. These same families must make choices that often lead to hunger and poor nutrition. Many children go without meals and parents wonder if they will have enough food to last until their next paycheck. Childhood hunger is influenced by a combination of three deficits: resources, access and information. The Governor’s Office for Children (GOC), on behalf of the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland (The Partnership), is awarded a two-year implementation grant. GOC proposes to work with applying partners Catholic Charities, Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR), Maryland Food Bank, Maryland Hunger Solutions, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), and SHARE Food Network on behalf of the Partnership. Each of these partners is an active member of the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland. The Partnership serves as the Food Policy Council for the state of Maryland and the eight target Counties and is well-suited to implement the creating Hunger-Free Communities in Maryland by Meeting the Growing Need in Eight Target Counties project described in the proposal. The eight target Counties are Allegany, Anne Arundel, Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett and Montgomery. The proposed scope of work will implement strategies outlined in the Plan to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland by 2015 and will tailor implementation to the specific needs of the target community. The three focus areas of the proposed work are:

  • Focus Area A: Increasing access to and information regarding the Food Supplement Program (FSP).
    • Conducting training on Maryland's Service Access and Information Link (SAIL);
    • Expanding FSP outreach efforts;
    • Publishing and disseminating information regarding the FSP;
    • Improving implementation of the FSP: and
    • Improving Direct Certification between the FSP and the School Meals.
  • Focus Area B: Increasing participation in school and out-of-school time nutrition programs
    • Conducting outreach to increase participation;
    • Providing intensive technical assistance to address implementation challenges; and
    • Using local resources to improve the quality of food served through afterschool and summer programs sponsored by the Maryland Food Bank.
  • Focus Area C: Expanding access to nutritious food for families with children.
    • creating a network of farms and gleaning cooperatives which will provide unused produce to soup kitchens, pantries, shelters and other CBO and outreach programs.
    • Providing education resources so that Maryland families have the knowledge, skills, and motivation to make healthy food choices; and
    • Expanding innovative buying clubs that stretch families' food budgets.
United Way of New York City - New York City, NY ($2,000,000)

Of the 8.3+ million people living in New York City proper, over 1.55 million live below the federal poverty line, with numbers steadily increasing. The United Way of New York City plans to partner with the New York City Hunger Free Communities Consortium, consisting of AARP New York, City Harvest, Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Food Bank for New York City, Metropolitan Council for Jewish Poverty, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, New York City Department for the Aging, New York City Department of Education Office of School Food, and Public Health Solutions to implement its proposed plan. This project has a particular focus on aiding the especially vulnerable populations of households with children, working poor, and senior citizens. The proposed project includes a four-pronged approach to working collaboratively towards a Hunger-Free Community in NY through four objectives:

  • Creating and implementing a comprehensive marketing, communications, organizing, and outreach plan to increase participation in government and private nutrition assistance and anti-poverty programs (including, but not limited to SNAP, WIC, school meals, food pantry and soup kitchen foods, senior center meals, and Meals on Wheels) by bridging the traditional silos that separate these programs.
  • Improving the referral network to free food resources by:
    • Collaborating with both government and community-based partners to have coordinated, updated information streams to key referral and application assistance hubs. These will include ACCESS NYC (the City’s online applications system) as well as each of the members of the Hunger Free Consortium; and
    • Key partners will help to build the capacity of and provide training for community-based and faith-based organizations to assist in the benefits of pre-screening and application capabilities of food pantries and soup kitchens.
  • Engaging in outreach to promote participation in school breakfast, particularly through adoption of in-classroom or grab-and-go breakfast service in schools, ongoing parent engagement, and the creation of dynamic outreach materials for community members and decision-makers; and
  • Creating a NYC Food Policy Council in collaboration with the current NYC Food Policy Task Force.


Planning and Assessment Grant Awards FY 2010

The 10 planning and assessment grantees will research and assess the hunger and food insecurity in their communities and create a plan to achieve a hunger-free community.

Community Services Planning Council - Sacramento, CA ($99,396)

Sacramento County is a very diverse, urban area with a population of 1.4 million. A significant project need is demonstrated through preliminary data. The proposed Hunger Hits Home 2011 project seeks to achieve three objectives: (1) survey low income individuals to assess the extent, causes, and consequences of food insecurity in Sacramento County; (2) interview organizations operating within Sacramento County’s food systems to determine the capacity of the systems and the amount of coordination and collaboration that is occurring among and between the organizations; and (3) engage stakeholders to review our findings and develop an action plan that will move Sacramento County toward a hunger free community.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County - Lockport, NY ($96,175)

Niagara County, located in the upper northwest corner of New York State, has a population of approximately 215,000 and covers 523 square miles. Niagara County is predominately a rural, agrarian community. Preliminary data collected suggests a significant need, but one that is unquantifiable and thus difficult to understand or address. The assessment will consist of (i) a survey of a representative sampling of the County’s population to assess the extent of hunger; (ii) focus groups to delve into the causes of hunger; (iii) resource mapping of existing services in the County to identify gaps and potential opportunities; (iv) evaluation of the availability and accessibility of healthy foods; and (iv) examination of the local food production and distribution system in order to determine the flow of locally-produced products.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County - Oriskany, NY ($100,000)

Utica and its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) were identified in the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s 2009 “Mohawk Valley Regional Report” as one of the poorest of New York State’s cities. This fact is substantiated by Census 2000 results. Primary deliverables for the project include an analysis of the extent and causes of hunger in the community and a plan to achieve a hunger-free community within the Utica/Oneida County foodshed area. There will be three key stages undertaken by the grant applicants in fulfillment of the Model 1 Planning and Assessment activities of this USDA Hunger-Free Communities Grant. This proposal presumes that upon award of this USDA grant the first Stage ONE activity of the grantees will be to convene a Food Policy Working Group. This Working Group will establish preliminary goals, membership, and target outcomes for its first year of operation. It will serve as coordinator of Stage TWO research and associated outreach activities. At Stage three, the Food Policy Council will be formalized based upon the initial operations, methods, intentions, and membership of the Working Group. The processes of these developmental efforts will be inclusive and participatory, with the aim of building ownership for the project and implementation capacity among partners.

Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County - Paso Robles, CA ($99,561)

San Luis Obispo County is a rural county located on California’s Central Coast, with a population of approximately 265,000 residents. The county spans over 3,000 square miles and includes more than 20 towns and unincorporated communities with populations ranging from 18 to 45,000. The economy is driven by tourism and agriculture, sectors which rely on low-wage workers. Preliminary data suggests a significant project need. The overall objective of the hunger assessment research is to identify the extent and causes of hunger in San Luis Obispo County, including assessing household food security, determining accessibility of food resources, identifying low availability and high cost food areas, assessing community food production resources, and identifying other barriers to food security.

International Sonoran Desert Alliance - Ajo, AZ ($63,000)

Ajo, Arizona is one of the most remote, rural towns in the Southwest. It is 40 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. With high rates of poverty, unemployment, and infrastructure challenges, it is classified as a federal colonia. This organization’s assessment goals include: developing a clear understanding of hunger in the community rural region (extent, locus, and causes), understanding of the relation of hunger to key health issues in the community and rural region, understanding of the nutritional resources present and absent in the community and rural region and the extent to which the community makes use of them, and identifying sustainable strategies being implemented by other similar rural regions specifically to address hunger.

Marywood University - Scranton, PA ($100,000)

Situated at the northern edge of Pennsylvania’s Coal Region, Lackawanna County encompasses an area of 465 square miles and is comprised of both rural and urban communities. The county has a population of 208,801 (as of 2009) and is located northwest of the Pocono Mountains. Increasing numbers of residents have found themselves with food insecurities due to the loss of jobs in the county and the recent budget impasse in Pennsylvania that negatively impacted direct service providers. Research objectives include obtaining statistical, quantitative results from residents in Lackawanna County, conducting an availability and affordable foods inventory, and following up with selected individuals and key informants (residents, community leaders, emergency food providers, food assistance providers, transportation supervisors) to probe and explore those results in more depth.

North County Community Services - San Marcos, CA ($100,000)

The geographic scope of service for the proposed assessment and planning project includes approximately 1,815 square miles in the northern third of San Diego County. According to Census data, the 2006 estimated population in the project area was 623,208 or just over 20 percent of the total county population. There are between 25 and 40 miles of separation between the San Diego Metropolitan area and the project target area of Northern San Diego County. Preliminary data suggests a significant project need in this area. This assessment and planning project will measure the extent of food insecurity in Northern San Diego County, assess causes of hunger, evaluate the capacity of the region’s food system and identify workable solutions that become part of a plan to alleviate hunger in the region.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project - Poughkeepsie, NY ($99,311)

Poughkeepsie is a riverfront city of nearly 30,000 residents in the Hudson Valley, a two hour commuter train ride from New York City. It is located in border zone between metropolitan New York City and the agricultural regions of the upper Hudson Valley. Preliminary data suggests a significant project need. The planned assessment of food security will document the extent of hunger in the community and analyzes its causes, outlining how the community’s food systems operate, how residents access nutritious food in Poughkeepsie, how food insecure residents make decisions about what to eat and what constrains those choices.

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick, NJ ($99,753)

New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a city with a diverse population exceeding 48,000. High proportions of city residents suffer from socioeconomic difficulties and other preliminary data suggests a significant project need. This project aims to analyze and interpret data that assess food insecurity and related needs within the city, characterize the local food environment including inventories of food availability and pricing, and catalog existing community resources, programs and services. It will use this information to conduct a gap analysis to identify the information, resources, and infrastructure needed to reduce food insecurity among residents of New Brunswick.

United Way of Passaic County - Paterson, NJ ($100,000)

Passaic County, New Jersey, is an hourglass-shaped county of approximately half a million residents located in Northern New Jersey. Passaic County’s “downcounty” area includes the densely populated urban centers of Passaic and Paterson, surrounded by middle-class and working-class suburban areas that vary in their ethnic makeup and income distribution. Preliminary data suggests a significant project need. Assessment objectives include determining the extent and severity of food insecurity in all Passaic County municipalities and among various high-risk Passaic County populations and determining possible causes of food insecurity in Passaic County.