The first quarter of the new fiscal year has been a challenging one at best! During the first quarter we saw a 64% increase in the number of meals distributed from our soup kitchen and mobile unit, a 23% increase in our total meal distribution and a 23% increase in the numbers of senior served. We now have more than 8,000 families registered for our food pantry with an average of 66,000 visits over the course of a year serving more than 192,000 people alone. What an incredible increase given the times!
This past month the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health outlined 5 pillars to ending hunger by:
Pillar 1: Improving food access and affordability making it easier for everyone to access and afford food. This includes expanding eligibility for and increasing participation in food assistance programs and improving transportation to places where food is available.
Pillar 2: help integrate nutrition and health by prioritizing the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, including disease prevention and management, and ensuring that our health care system addresses the nutrition needs of all people.
Pillar 3: seeks to empower all people to make and have access to healthy choices by fostering environments that enable all people to easily make informed healthy choices, increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy workplace and school policies, and invest in public messaging and education campaigns that are culturally appropriate and resonate with specific communities.
Pillar 4: seeks to support physical activity for all by making it easier for people to be more physically active (in part by ensuring that everyone has access to safe places to be active), increase awareness of the benefits of physical activity, and conduct research on and measure physical activity and finally.
Pillar 5: focuses on enhancing nutrition and food security research by improving nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities.
These 5 pillars outline comprehensive and constructive ways to move toward a healthier tomorrow for all of us. At Bread and Life we will continue to promote healthier food options and access to better health through our partnership with Care for the Homeless. In the words of Stuart Duncan, “If we are not supporting each other, we are missing a very valuable opportunity to become stronger together.”
Believe it or not the holidays will be here before you know it. As we prepare for Sponsor A Family, I hope you will join with me in supporting this 26th Annual Campaign. Your support will ensure that no one in the community goes hungry and that every child has a happy Christmas.
As always, I remain grateful to everyone who supports our efforts and joins with us in fighting hunger in our community. Thank you to our donors, board, volunteers and staff who make what we do every day so incredibly worthwhile.