Local Group to Spearhead Hunger Free Communities Pilot Project

Local Group to Spearhead Hunger Free Communities Pilot Project

Thanks to a connection made through the Chamber with the global organization Alliance to End Hunger, local non-profit Hunger Resource Network (HRN) has been selected to lead a pilot project to make Northbrook a hunger-free community. One of only three communities in the country selected for the initiative, the project could have a huge impact on how local communities address hunger in their own backyard. The project kicks off in January and runs through September 2018.

HRN President Dan Jariabka and Director Henry Fetta met the Alliance Executive Committee member Patti Marshman-Goldblatt at this year’s Annual Dinner. Patti helped connect Henry and Dan with her organization and its involvement with the Hunger Free Communities (HFC) initiative. Knowing that hunger exists in every community, including Northbrook, but firmly believing the eradication of hunger is an achievable goal, Dan and Henry were excited to learn about the HFC initiative.

The project is based on the premise that because the food supply in the US is plentiful (and not a barrier to alleviating hunger), there is a tremendous benefit in sharing best practices and lessons learned across communities. To support the initiative, the Alliance is working in collaboration with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and leveraging a grant received from General Mills. The grant is funding pilot projects in three U.S communities: Northbrook, Kalamazoo and Tampa Bay, and two international communities. The project includes a platform for coalitions committed to ending hunger in their localities to share their knowledge and experience with other organizers.

The nine month project will involve key stakeholders in the community who will be asked to identify as many programs and projects as possible that support efforts to alleviate hunger, including what has worked well, what hasn’t and where there are gaps. With assistance from the Northfield Township Food Pantry, the Chamber and Village volunteers, HRN will reach out to civic, education, healthcare, academic, business, religious and other organizations for their input and involvement.

The stakeholders will also test a playbook developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to accomplish the goal of eradicating hunger, and provide them with feedback on its effectiveness.

Half of the $10,000 grant will go towards administrative costs and half towards a nutritionist, to provide further input. “We want to make sure there are proper nutritional resources for those who need it,” points out Patti. “Research shows there are higher costs if nutrition is not addressed.”

In the end, HRN hopes to develop strategies and best practices for organizations to work together to eradicate hunger, possibly creating a community-wide calendar that identifies all programs across the community dedicated to hunger alleviation.

Northbrook is a close-knit, giving community, and the project fits well with the HRN mission of being a connector and finding ways to accelerate the alleviation of hunger, according to HRN President Dan Jariabka. “We are pleased and honored to be able to participate and facilitate a project with a potentially transformational impact,” he notes.

Further information will be available on the Hunger Resource Network website www.hungerresourcenetwork.org in January. Anyone interested in participating, or sharing information about existing programs at their business, is encouraged to reach out to Dan or Henry through the website.

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