February 08, 2013
Instructor: Professor Audrey L. Vaughan
Since the 2007-2012 global financial crisis in parallel with the rising inflation of food prices, there has been a significant increase in people requesting help from food banks in America. This problem of food insecurity can be felt all over the United States particularly in the southwest region of our country. The southwest region of the country further deals with not only individuals but household food insecurity as well. This forces families and individuals to make strenuous decisions in managing daily life. The coping mechanism that develops out of this life style includes prearrangements such as skipping meals, buying (if possible) unhealthy cheap food, and particularly children that eat only when school lunch is available. Southwest Regional Food Bank (SRFB) has been working unremittingly to make sure no individual lives there life with hunger as a constant threat to their well being. Our food bank has developed key programs and partnerships to allow us unparalleled success in meeting this challenge in the southwest region. SRFB has partnered with local /federal governments, and business communities to create anti-hunger programs. Our primary branches have tailored operations designed to maximize the output of our organization. We also conduct nutrition outreach that teaches communities how to eat healthy no matter what lifestyle one has.
One program SRFB conducts to eliminate food insecurity is to address the problem before it can negatively impact a child’s life. This particular goal leads to a partnership with federal, local governments and the private sector as well. Resulting in a comprehensive anti-hunger program: According to an updated Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) report, “29% of Arizonian households with children experienced food hardships in 2010, which is defined as not having enough money to buy needed food during the previous twelve months” (Association of Arizona Food Banks, 2011). SRFB has also realized a creative program by partnering with banks and credit unions across the southwest region. “Food insecurity is also associated with a lack of assets, or savings. A family with no assets to cushion economic blows is much more vulnerable to food insecurity” (The Texas Food Bank Network, 2013). The goal with this partnership is simple -build household assets. This can be achieved through opportunities such as matched saving accounts. Also SRFB has federal contacts to help assist individuals with applying for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Furthermore SRFB combines these efforts with local farmers across the region to create a dedicated before and after school food program.The success of the school program has allowed us to expand to an all year long, three course meal programs for children, further eliminating food insecurity before it can negatively affect one's life.
According to www.foodbankrockies.org (chap 2-Finding food, 2007, para 1), “Charity food distribution programs are remarkably adaptable – some have buildings and paid staff, some have one but not the other, and some thrive without either. The need for food, however is inexorable, and the limits of an organization’s food supply often define the scope of its operation”. We at SRFB have used this idea to tailor our operations, in such a way to meet the needs of every community in our region. Whether it is district based warehouse depots (DBWD) that supplies schools and shelters with food or our specialized regional based pantry division (RBPD). Our RBPD has aggressively pursued food drives and food rescue services in every community.