Over 116,000 children in our community rely on the free or reduced price lunch they get at school. Sometimes, that meal is their only solid meal of the day. What do they eat now that school’s out...
With over 116,000 children on free and reduced price lunch at school, what do these children do for meals during the summer? “Inter-Faith Food Shuttle tries to come up with multiple strategies to meet this increased need in summer,” says Kyle Abrams....
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've inserted pictures of some of my other favorite memories from my time here at the Food Shuttle.
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 Shenanigans for my birthday.
A VERY competitive game of Cooking Matters trivia.
BEAUTIFUL gifts of fresh produce and flowers from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm.
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's new food truck, which some of us call the Mobile Tastiness Machine, made a trial run on Thursday, feeding children bagged dinners at Neighbor To Neighbor’s after-school mentoring program - with Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken doing the honors. The newly installed CEO of the nation’s primary hunger relief organization was in Raleigh to meet with regional leaders from Feeding America, the nation's food bank network. But first, he wanted to see firsthand IFFS’s unique approach to ending hunger as a non-traditional food bank, including innovative programs in urban agriculture, farming, and job skills training. We showed him our new truck and then with our Board member, Smokey Norris of USFoods, he was off to feed children. The Mobile Tastiness Machine will be hitting the streets in selected neighborhoods later this spring, serving healthy meals prepared by our culinary staff to kids during out of school times, along with nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and bags of fresh produce for kids to take home to their families!