Mobile Tastiness Machine

June Newsletter: Teaming Up for #HungerFreeNC

Featuring a letter from Jill, unique solutions to summer hunger, CJTP & Teaching Farm celebrations, special corporate food donation, & volunteer spotlight

THANK YOU SUMMER VISTAS

Jennifer and MTM fruit game

Jennifer Ozkurt:

AmeriCorps Summer VISTA

Jennifer worked primarily with IFFS's new Mobile Tastiness Machine Food Truck.  This food truck serves lunches and dinners to low-income children right in their own neighborhoods in order to fill the gap that free and reduced price breakfast and lunches at school miss.  Jennifer worked to develop materials and curricula that will be used as a nutrition component along with the meals handed out at the food truck.  Jennifer also helped as the Nutrition Instructor in a Cooking Matters Teen Class.

april-2013-e1375981840525

Megan Dixon:

AmeriCorps Summer VISTA

Megan worked with IFFS's Cooking Matters Program to help coordinate courses and manage volunteers.  Megan's duties also included assisting with the Food Matters Program at Mobile Markets, participating as an instructor for Cooking Matters courses, and developing activities to be used with all of IFFS's Nutrition Education Programs.

Thank you both for your dedication and hard work this summer! 

Mobile Tastiness Machine spotted in Parrish Manor

Last week, the Mobile Tastiness Machine made its way on the road for a pilot run in the community of Parrish Manor, where we also work with neighborhood youth to manage a community garden and host nutrition education classes. The food truck, which houses our Mobile Meals program, made its debut with tasty turkey stir-fry with vegetables and brown rice, and a side of fresh strawberries. "Yay!" came the first customer's response upon hearing the menu.

IMG_4064

Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, regional FoodBank leaders, and IFFS staff in our hoop house at the IFFS Hoke Street Training Center

Chef Terri Hutter and Kitchen Manager Sunshine Beard worked the window.

Kids in the community gave curious looks and shouts over to the colorful truck as the school bus dropped them off in front of the Parrish Manor office where we were parked. Some were hesitant to wander over at first, but once they heard that the food was free, they didn't just wander up to the truck....they ran.

MTM pilot at Parrish Manor

 

Word spread pretty quickly, and soon dozens of kids were served hot, nutritious meals.

Look for the truck in low-income communities this summer serving up hot lunches and supper six days a week, along with nutrition education and physical activities.

I can't believe it's already been a year!

by Morgan Medders Sadly, this week marks the last of my yearlong term of service as an Americorps VISTA with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS).  It has truly been a wonderful experience.  The IFFS staff and volunteers never cease to amaze me.  Even as they’ve grown to become my “IFFS family,” I am still impressed on a daily basis by their diligence, compassion, and constant enthusiasm.  These people are some of the greatest I know.

The fact that it took me several weeks of working here full-time to get a grasp on what everyone does is a testament to the breadth of innovative strategies IFFS is using to combat hunger in North Carolina.  Even though my world has mainly revolved around our nutrition programs, I can’t help but be proud of our other programs as well:  from Backpack Buddies to field gleaning to the Culinary Job Training Program to urban agriculture and the Young Farmer Training Program to food stabilization and Catering with a Cause.

Something that stands out to me, as I look back over the course of the year, is change.  And while at first these changes may seem like inconveniences, or perhaps even weaknesses, I’d argue quite the opposite.  Ending hunger will not be accomplished while being stagnant.  While the tons of food we redistribute each year are critical to local families who are struggling to put meals on the table, that alone is not going to solve the problem.  The Food Shuttle gets this.  We all will have to work together to create a just, sustainable, accessible, and healthful food system here in NC.  Not only do the IFFS programs already attack a myriad of different causes and symptoms of hunger, new visions are continually being put into action.  One such vision in action, the IFFS "Mobile Tastiness Machine" which is shown below.

MTM

As people become more aware of where their food comes from, how to shop for and cook a healthy well-balanced meal no matter their budget, and find alternative ways to access nutritious foods, they feel empowered.  I’ve seen it firsthand in our nutrition classes.  I’ve felt it myself.  It’s exciting to be able to grasp the power of nutritious food that comes from the earth to feed our families.  This is nothing new, but unfortunately it’s been complicated by our current food system.

Over the past couple weeks, I have been asked several times what my favorite part of working with IFFS this year has been.  As my typical indecisive self, I have had trouble coming up with an answer.  Apart from the amazing people whom I mentioned above (and the shenanigans in the nutrition HUB), I think it would have to be the appreciation from community members.  It’s not expressed at every encounter, but there have been countless times when someone has pulled me aside,  in various classes, markets and events, to express gratitude for the work being done for the community.  And there hasn’t been a CJTP graduation ceremony yet that I haven’t gotten teary eyed during the graduates’ stories, which always include some form of appreciation.  The mission of IFFS is important, and the work is often fun, but it would be meaningless without the community supporting and appreciating it.

There is a long way to go yet, but boy am I excited to be a part of the journey.

As long as I’m in the area, I hope to continue to volunteer with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.  Hopefully I will see you soon in a class or event or out in the field.  Regardless, please be in touch: morgan.medders@gmail.com.

I've inserted pictures of some of my other favorite memories from my time here at the Food Shuttle.

CM pizza

Making pizza during a Cooking Matters for Kids class.  (One of the children wrote on his end of class survey, "P.S. I want to be a chef when I grow up.")

office schenanigans

Office Shenanigans for my birthday.

Nutrition trivia

A VERY competitive game of Cooking Matters trivia.

flowers teaching farm

BEAUTIFUL gifts of fresh produce and flowers from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm.