Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hunger in America 2014

Hunger Study at God's Storehouse in Danville, VA
On Monday June 3rd, myself and 2 other Feeding America Southwest Virginia employees took a trip to Danville, VA to perform the Hunger Study at a local food pantry, God's Storehouse. Now before I dive into this more, let me explain the details of the study.
Hunger in America, also known as the Hunger Study, is the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. Hunger in America 2014 is the most recent in a series of Hunger Studies, which are conducted every four years. Feeding America is the primary sponsor of this study, with generous funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The purpose of the Hunger in America study is two-fold. First, it will collect information on the current work of the Feeding America network of food banks. This includes collecting data from agencies such as food pantries that receive food and grocery items from food banks and from the actual clients they serve. This information will help Feeding America, and its national network of 200 food banks, to better understand the agencies they work with to provide hunger relief. Second, the study will also identify issues faced by both agencies and the clients they serve.  This will enable Feeding America to better advocate for government assistance and support fundraising efforts by better educating their donors and the public about the scope of services provided by food banks.
My visit to the God's Storehouse food pantry was the first time I witnessed programs for food insecure families and individuals. It was a gripping experience and I got a first hand account of the problems that Southwest Virginia has with food insecurity and access. I can honestly say that I went into the experience with many preconceptions of the people that I would see and the interactions that I would be a part of. But these were blown out of the water as I soon noticed that there were people being served from all walks of life. One client in particular that stuck out to me was a man who had come in for the first time to receive food. When he first walked through the door he seemed upset and frustrated that he was there as he was being asked questions about his eligibility to receive food. He was randomly selected to participate in the Hunger Study, so I approached him. As soon as I started talking his face lit up and he was excited to help. He explained to me that he had just lost his job and had been doing his very best to pay bills and that he had just spent a few hundred dollars to fix his car. Then before he knew it, he had depleted his finances and didn't have enough money to buy food to support his family. And through all of that he was open and willing to participate in the study in order to inform Feeding America on how to better serve the pantries and clients they support. Filling out a survey isn't a very exciting prospect but he knew that filling it out would play a small but very significant part in a larger picture of service.
It was a very humbling experience and I know that it will stick with me for the rest of my life. In moving forward, I can confidently say that I am excited to participate in more studies and participate in the many other opportunities that will come with being a part of Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

Find out more about Hunger in America at:

No comments:

Post a Comment