United Way of King County is shining a bright light on hunger and we’re asking everyone to think about their relationship to food. Who has food, who doesn’t, where does your food come from…. We’re encouraging people to sign up on our website (www.uwkc.org/hunger) to stand with us during Hunger Action Week on March 19-24. When you do you’ll learn about ways you can get involved locally and you’ll be part of a movement that is helping to assure that everyone in our community is able to put nourishing food on the table.
How you can help: Sign up for Hunger Action Week. Volunteer for local hunger relief, help us get a Food Security Count, learn more about the Hunger Relief Now! Plan, host a dinner party or potluck with friends and family using foods typically found at a food bank, or ask guests to bring non-perishable items to donate to your local food bank. If you plan on hosting a food drive, contact your local food bank to see what they need and when you can deliver it. If you’re participating in the Hunger Challenge, write about it and sharing your story with us at email@example.com, and consider donating what you save this week on food.
Why focus on hunger?
United Way of King County has always been dedicated to making sure families and individuals have enough to eat. However, within the last few years, the landscape of hunger has changed dramatically. The recession has led to more people needing help getting enough to eat. And people who were already relying on food stamps and food banks were put in even more precarious situations.
Statistics that have been coming out have reflected the dire state of hunger and food insecurity in our local community and throughout the
From Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap Study:
- 16.6% of Americans, or 50,162,000 people are food insecure
, 14.4% of the population, or 953,920 people are food insecure Washington State
Data from the Communities Count report early release in February 2012, section titled “Adequate Food in King County”:
- 20% of
children are food insecure. That means 1 in 5 King County kids are at risk of going hungry King County
- 13% of
residents, or 249,260 people are food insecure King County
- 9% of
households ran out of food in 2010, up from 6% in 2007 King County
, 49% of Hispanic households with children are food-insecure King County
- 15% of
Region residents could not afford balanced meals; 8% went hungry South King County
The need for food assistance in
- Basic Food(SNAP) caseloads increased by 83% between 2009 and 2011
food banks have seen a 30 percent increase in the number of clients coming to them for help. At the same time, they've had a 31 percent decline in donations. Seattle
- WIC enrollment has increased steadily since 2006
What do we hope to accomplish with Hunger Action Week?
The purpose of Hunger Action Week is to raise awareness around hunger. Most people don’t realize how many people are struggling. For most of us, it’s so easy to forget that many in
We want to get people thinking about, talking about, and taking action around hunger.
For us at
We want people to sign up for the Hunger Challenge even if they see it as a daunting task because failure speaks a lot to the challenge. Personally, I couldn’t get through the week and that opened my eyes to how difficult living solely on Basic Food would be. However, if you just can’t swing it, we encourage you to host a dinner party with friends, family, or colleagues to sit down, share good food, and have a discussion about hunger and how it relates to the conversations people everywhere are already having about food and food systems.
And of course, a major part of raising social consciousness nowadays is through social media, so in addition to blogging we encourage participants to post on Facebook and Twitter (#hungerfreekc) during HAW to show your solidarity and to help get others tuned in.
Basically, we raise funds and make strategic investments in order to bring significant change in the community. In addition to looking at individual nonprofits, we look at the whole community and figure out how best use the money we raise.
For us, hunger is a major issue and we have put our money where our mouth is. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011,
February 2011 United Way of
- Connecting 9,000 more families with Basic Food benefits through a volunteer program we created called Bridge to Basics where volunteers go out in the community to help people sign up for benefits such as food stamps, utility assistance, and low-cost health care.
- Serving 60,000 more Summer Meals to kids and increasing overall participation in federal child nutrition programs
- Expanding the good work around community kitchens, gardening, and nutrition education through the Rainier Valley Eats! coalition
- Increasing awareness of hunger, it’s costs and consequences, and solutions through public education, volunteer and giving programs, including an annual Hunger Action Week
We also developed our Hunger Relief Now! Plan in April 2009 which describes the nature and scope of the problem of hunger in our area and how we, along with our many community partners, plan to take action to solve it. We are trying to cover all the bases and make sure nobody in
What we want from you in terms of the Hunger Challenge.
We are asking you to take the hunger challenge, post regularly throughout the week, and post a reflection of HAW at the end of the week. I will be doing a daily round-up/blog roll and will re-post your blogs at uwkcblog.org every day during HAW.
Also, we would like it if you encouraged your readers to take part in the Hunger Challenge and other ways in order to make a difference around hunger.
What are the rules?
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, spending only $7 a day (or more if your household is larger (see table below). We chose these amounts because they are the maximum food benefits that people can get on Basic Food. While Basic Food is designed to be a supplement to food budgets, the reality is that many rely solely on their benefits for food because they don’t have enough money to handle food as well as all the other life expenses that they need to take care of.
- Don’t forget to factor in seasonings (except salt & pepper), cooking oils, condiments, snacks, drinks, and everything in between
- Don’t use food you already own
- Don’t’ accept food from family, friends, co-workers and others. Not even free samples from Costco!
- Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day
- Keep track of your expenses, your recipes, and share your experiences on your blog. You can also let us know how it’s going on Facebook and Twitter @UnitedWayKC hashtag: #hungerfreekc
I’d like to emphasize that the rules are made to be guidelines. The point is to get people thinking about the challenge of hunger in everyday life, not necessarily to mimic hunger. Please feel free to use these rules but also feel free to modify them as you think is best – for example if you just want to do the challenge one or two days, etc.
This table shows how much allowance you’re allowed depending on family size:
Hunger Challenge Budget
$7 per day/$35.00 per week
$12 per day/$60.00 per week
$18 per day/$90.00 per week
$22 per day/$110.00 per week
$26 per day/$130.00 per week
$32 per day/$160.00 per week
$35 per day/$175.00 per week
Examples from past Hunger Challenge takers:
Example of the blog-roll/daily round-up of posts that I will be doing every day during Hunger Action Week: