December 8, 2020 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
This first session seeks to refresh the lens at which we look at food insecurity and hunger. Watch this session to hear panelists and neighbors share their experiences of food security.
View the Pre-session Reading Materials to have a better understanding of food insecurity.
Session One Recording
- Thank you, Mary. Good morning, everyone. We're very happy to have you all here. As you showing interest in what food insecurity looks like in our area. I am the Coordinator for the Northwest Food Coalition and also for Food Rescue. And we wanna thank you for joining us and we're glad for all the interest you have in learning more about the scope of food insecurity and how it looks here in Northern Michigan. Here's just a little bit of background about our beginning efforts. 26 years ago, hunger action agency out of Detroit, we received some funding to form some grassroots efforts around the state to look at the causes of poverty by targeting community action agencies who deal with low-income clients. Traverse City was one of the seven to be part of this effort in Northwest and joined up with Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency. In the beginning we were join my eight existing local pantries who are already feeding people on their own by offering support organization and resources. We formed the Northwest Food Coalition and they've grown to 46 pantries form 27 meals sites and six baby pantries. Monthly, we look at what it takes for them to provide food supplies, volunteers and to keep up with government and safety regulations to the next five sessions that we'll be coming up with the summit, you'll hear more about the partnerships, the evolution of our mission and the efforts to provide healthy food and education to our neighbors. You'll have an opportunity to get involved in that effort to find solutions to end hunger here in our region and to address the issues that end poverty. Thanks for joining us today. We hope you'll join us for each of the other five sessions. Thank you, Mary.
- Yes, thank you Val. The Coalition defines food security as the ability to have not only economic, but also physical and social access to enough nutritious food. The coalition set a goal three years ago to provide greater access to fresh produce in our region through a program called Farm to Neighbor. Through generous donations the coalition purchases local produce for distribution at pantries and meals sites. The wonderfully nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables we are able to provide have been so well received by pantry and meal site visitors. And the Farm to Neighbor program is very appealing and economically helpful to our farmers who grow our tremendous local food. But as you well know this program alone does not solve the problems that we face. The challenge of addressing food security in our region is far too big for any single entity to address alone. Many organizations and programs play a role in this layered issue. Food assistance is provided by a patchwork, a federal state and tribal agencies and programs, even school districts and many non-governmental organizations, such as pantries. There is no single place to turn for help for our food insecure neighbors. And they must navigate many systems while dealing with their own challenges of insufficient income, transportation, healthcare, and childcare. And now due to the COVID-19 pandemic things are even more complicated. Food security was an issue prior to the pandemic and the need is growing. As the economic impact of COVID continue, it is hard to predict how the food assistance needs of our community will change. Throughout this six part summit series, we will dive into and share information about who in our community is facing food insecurity and why, that's today's topic. We'll also be looking at what are the sources of food assistance and how do we make decisions to address community and individual needs. We'll also take a look at how people get access to healthy food and what values drive our solutions. Then we'll finally ask what's next. What happens after the pandemic? How can we improve what we are doing with the lessons we've learned? We've seen so many organizations and individuals step up locally and help during this pandemic. Today's session is webinar's style, there will be a Q&A opportunities with our panel but we want to learn from you too. We will provide more opportunities for real time sharing during the later sessions but we will be asking for feedback starting today. Please share your thoughts and ideas. They are so important in making this summit successful. We're looking forward to presenting and exchanging ideas and information and imagining a better future for our region together. So as Val said, we hope you'll join us for as many sessions as you can. Now I'll turn the program over to our moderator for today's session, Megan Olds. Megan is the founder and principal of Parallel Solution and has been working with the Northwest Food Coalition to help organize this summit series. She'll introduce our speakers, moderate our participant polls and our panel discussion and facilitate the Q&A at the end of the session. So thank you so much for your commitment today and all the work you are doing to ensure our neighbors can be food secure. Megan.
- Thank you, Mary for that introduction. As Mary mentioned this is a webinar style format for today, so I will be introducing a high-level speaker who will share some data and perspectives to root us in a common understanding of definitions and the condition space in community members. We will also have some opportunities to ask you questions. Mary mentioned the polls, and those will show up in a little box on your screen and you'll have an opportunity to answer those questions so that we can learn a little bit more about you and your lens. You'll also have an opportunity for Q&A as Mary mentioned at the end of the session. We have a variety of panelists joining us today as well looking forward to introducing them to you. And with that scope in mind I want to launch our first poll. So we have a question for you, that's going to appear on your screen here. What brings you to this session? You have some options there to consider. As you view those questions, please feel free to vote. Just take one more minute here. About half of you have responded so far, great. 'Cause look about 80% of you have voted, I'm gonna give you about 10 more seconds here, if you'd like to vote. All right, with 80% of you responding we have about 30 respondents, 29% of you have said you're here to learn how to solve problems. 30% of you are here to form partnerships and collaborations, 21% to learn about food insecurity, 11% to learn what's available in the community, 9% learn how to become more involved as a volunteer. Thank you for sharing that with us. Really appreciate. your perspective. Now I'd like to introduce Seth Johnson. Seth is the President of United Way of Northern Michigan. Seth is going to share some slides and also some information with you about our community's conditions, Seth.
- Well, thank you, Megan. And I hope that everyone is having a great start to your day. As Megan said, my name's Seth Johnson with United Way of Northwest Michigan. I'm extremely grateful to be a part of the summit and get to level set and give a little bit of information about what food insecurity and food security looks like in our community. And also give us a little bit of a common definition. To kick things off, normally, what I would say is I would say out to a big room of us and say, "What does food insecurity mean to you?" And I would listen in and get to hear about how there's so many different perspectives and so many different definitions of what food insecurity looks like. But for us to have a little bit of a level set, I wonder if we get to start my slides really quickly and go to that second slide. When we think about food security I don't want us to just talk about food security being that we are hungry or we are not hungry. I want us to think about food security and food insecurity as a little bit more of a spectrum. So to go to that first one we can look at according to the USDA there's four conditions of food security, two conditions of food security, and then two conditions of food insecurity. On the food security side of things, you have high food security, these are individuals and families that are reporting no indications of food access problems, or limitations. I like to talk about that, these are the families and individuals that are shopping the whole grocery store right there enjoying those outside aisles, those center aisles. And they're really just being able to access so many different things. And we looked down and still within the food security side of things, we have marginal food security. These are where individuals and families are reporting one or two reported indicators of food security. Often it looks like anxiety. So these are families and individuals where they're still shopping the whole grocery store but maybe some time of the year, especially with the seasonality of our economy in this region, maybe in the summer, 'they're shopping the whole grocery store. But then when things are a little bit tighter in the winter months and in the fall and the early spring they're choosing to shop a little bit more of that center grocery aisle and they are starting to be a little bit more worried about how they're going to get that next meal and a little bit of anxiety associated with that. When we talk on the food insecurity side of things which is the next slide, Jane, is we talk about low food security. These are individuals and families that are reporting reduced quality and variety or desirability of diet, there's little or no indication of reduced food intake. I'd like to say that these are individuals and families that are shopping the center part of grocery stores. They're really looking for those shelf stable items. They're looking for those high impact, those high calorie dense items as well too. And then when we talk about very low food security they're reporting multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns or reduced food intake. These are the individuals and family in our region that are having that physical sensation of hunger, where they are choosing to reduce the amount of food, whether that be for themselves so that they can provide more for their families. Or they are just not able to access high quality healthy food. And they are having that physical sensation of hunger. So when we talk about food security and food insecurity let's not think of it so much as a black and white issue of individuals are hungry or they are not hungry but let's think of it more about of a spectrum just as I outlined here. So when we talk about food security it's also hard to measure because it is a spectrum because it is not so black and white. But as I wanna tie it into a little bit of a proxy which would be household income or financial stability at United Way we also considered that to be a spectrum as well too. It is not just that individuals are homeless or that they are not. As part of your prior reads, you read a little bit about the the federal poverty level and understanding what that looks like and what goes into that definition. At United Way we talk about asset, well, the ALICE families which is asset, limited, income, constrained and employed families. And that is a little bit more of a spectrum as well. So Jane, if we could pop those slides back up there. Well we're gonna look at little bit about how there is a spectrum when it comes to income side of things. And if the slides aren't there I can just talk us through this too. When we talk about 100% or 100% below the federal poverty level, those individuals and families, those are on the very low income side of things. And this is where you would traditionally think of those individuals that are homeless or precariously housed. Jane, so it's slide number four. Do you want me to click on that one? And so if you can see on that very poor, that red bucket you can see right there, that is where these are individuals that are unable to afford the basic needs, including food, housing, clothing, transportation, or healthcare. And in our 10 County region, this is 12% of the population that we're seeing. Or an annual income for a family of four have less than $25,000. Now, as I talk about this being a spectrum we're gonna go up the stream a little bit to 100 to 185% of federal poverty level. These individuals in our region they are employed and they are still not able to cover the basic household needs and often require public assistance. At this level, there also is a lot of public assistance available. So programs like WIC or SNAP or housing vouchers are available at this level. When you continue to work your way up the economic spectrum you can go to the poor low income or 185 to 249% of the federal poverty level. And these individuals are employed. They're also employed likely full-time and they're also not making minimum wage. However, they are still not able to cover all the basic household needs. And this is where a lot of those public assistance programs go away. Programs like SNAP are not available, they have worked their way. These individuals and families have worked their way up the economic ladder to a point that public assistance programs and the social safety net is no longer available to them but they still aren't able to cover all the household costs. For an annual income for a family of four that's 46 to $62,000 a year. And then when we get to self-sufficiency which is according to the data that we use with United Way, this is 250% and above of the federal poverty level. Now I'm not saying that if you look down at that bottom for an annual income for a family of four above $62,000 a year that things are going to be perfect. But we know from the data and our research that goes into this and the metrics that are associated with it that around the 250% of federal poverty level families and individuals tend to be at a fairly strong financial space and they're able to put away for savings and also be prepared for emergencies as well too. So as we have these two spectrums, we're looking at food insecurity as a spectrum, food insecurity as a spectrum and then we are also talking about financial stability or poverty as a spectrum as well too. Let's combine them into one slide. So let's go to the next slide, Jane. And you can see that from a high level overview is that we are talking about a large number of individuals in our region. Next slide, Jane. Yep, you can see from my argument today, you can see that as we talk about the spectrum of financial stability and then the spectrum of food security and food insecurity you can see that there is roughly 49,000 households in Northwest Michigan that have some level of food insecurity or are marginally food secure but have that precarious notion where they might be slipping into food insecurity or moving out of it. This is all a spectrum and so you can, it's not just that you are stuck in one category, individuals and families move not only month to month, year to year within different aspects of this chart here but they also have that spectrum of food security as well, too. And so 49,000 households in our 10 County region at some point or have some level of food insecurity within their household. And all of this data was before the pandemic. So this was all before March 13th. And so food security and food insecurity is not just black and white, it is also much more prevalent in our community. And it might not just be as a parent as we would think it to be, it doesn't just mean that people are going hungry. It means that people are nervous about where they're going to get that next meal, that they are anxious about how they're going to feed their household. And it is somewhat invisible in our community as well too. And so I just wanna leave you with that today is that food insecurity and food security is not just black and white, it is a spectrum and that it is much more prevalent and often invisible in our region. So thank you so much. I'm really looking forward to hearing the next panelists talk a little bit more in depth about what they're seeing on food security and food insecurity, and really appreciate being able to be a part of this summit. So thank you.
- Thank you so much, Seth, for sharing those data and that perspective, 49,000 households, 40% of households in our community. That's certainly a significant number. We wanna know next, how familiar you are with issues of food insecurity in our community. So I'm going to ask you to participate in another poll. This is our second poll of the session. It'll show up on your screen here shortly. How familiar are you with issues of food security in our community? How would you rate your level of awareness? About half of you have voted so far. Give you another 10 seconds to vote here, please. Great, I'll share the results with you now. So it looks like 34% of you said you were somewhat familiar, 32% quite familiar, 18% a bit familiar, 13% very familiar, 4% not at all familiar. We hope you leave here today with a little bit of a deeper understanding. And we're grateful to those of you who are already familiar with this. We're learning forward, we're looking forward to learning more from you as we enter the rest of these sessions together. Well, I'd like to introduce our panelists now, so panelists, if you could please turn on your microphones and your videos. I'm going to introduce each of our panelists here one at a time, and you will be able to see their names and their affiliations on your screen. But as I introduce you panelists, if you could just give a little wave as well, so folks can put a face with your name, joining us today we have Sarah Eichberger. Sarah is with Michigan State University Extension. She's going to be talking a bit about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP-ED. Cath O'Connor is also joining us today. Cathy is the coordinator of Step Up, It's a food assistance program for ninth through 12th grade students. Lisa Robitshek is joining us today from Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency. She's the Meals on Wheels coordinator there focusing on food assistance for seniors. Jane Lippert is also joining us. Jane is a pastor with Central United Methodist Church and she coordinates program, speeding those who are experiencing homelessness in our community. We also have Jody Jocks. Jody is a registered dietician with the Traverse City Area Public Schools, providing food assistance to students and families in the school district. I'm gonna be asking each of these panelists three questions. We'll do one question at a time and I will call on them each individually. My first question is what does being food secure mean to you? And Jane I'm going to pose this question to you first, please.
- Oh, I'm with Central Church Outreach also a member of the Northwest Food Coalition and on the Purchasing Committee for the Food Coalition. Food security for me is choice and control. The most of the people that I work with don't have housing. And so they are completely dependent on other people's schedules and other people's compassion in order to eat. And it's a wonderful thing. We've got a very giving community in that way but it also means you spend, food insecurity means you spend a lot of your time trying to figure out how to get food and where to go to get it. And so other things in your life become second place. It also means choice because a lot of folks in the general population have dietary needs that are variants. There's a lot of folks with diabetes. And if you're going to a meal program, you really don't have the choice to get the foods that are best for your specific situation. So that's what food scarcity means to me.
- Thank you very much, Jane. Cathy, what does food security mean to you?
- To me that food security is actually what Jane added, you are able to buy what you want when you want it. And the clients that we serve, that's certainly not the case. They're dependent on what is available. Oftentimes they're also dependent on whether they can actually prepare it. Many of our clients are on the go and they're not always getting a warm hot meal. I feel that when you're food insecure the nutritional value of your diet is severely decreased. And the quality of food necessary is more costly than what's available. And at Step Up Northern Michigan, we're trying to waive that nutritional value of what we can offer to our clients.
- Thank you, Cathy. Jody, what does being food secure mean to you?
- Personally what food security would mean to me is having the ability to consistently have the budget and the ability to get food, obtain it, cook it and have choice. Through the lens of the child nutrition programs that we provide at TCAPS. And I think what the COVID pandemic has really illustrated is when families are planning for meals, Sometimes two, if not two meals and a snack a day are planned into food budgets and grocery shopping. So for our families that participate in our programs I think that consistency and reliability that our programs offer can really contribute to food security or insecurity. And that's been illustrated so much these last, I don't know how many months, eight months, seven months it's been.
- Thank you, Jodi. Lisa, what does being food secure mean to you?
- So when I think about being food insecure, I think about our entire community and being food insecure means that all individuals or families throughout our community are able to easily obtain the right food at the right time. So through the lens of Meals on Wheels what that means when I think about our clients as well as the whole community, is that as a community we have the mechanisms to produce ourselves or have the right food that it's healthy foods but that all individuals need and can use, most importantly. They can't use it, like Cathy said, they have to be able to prepare it that it's not gonna do any good. So first, we look at our dietary guidelines for Americans, so it has to be the the right dietary requirements to meet their age group first of all. It has to be delicious but it has to be the list is to the individual. Sometimes people talk about dietary needs versus preferences and the preferences aren't that important. If it's their preferences and they don't like it and they don't eat it, then obviously they're not gonna be healthy and to get their food. So their preferences are important. It has to be nutritious. And again it has to meet their own individual dietary needs. Like we talked about being diabetic or not eating tomatoes or not eating meat 'cause they have gout or whatever it is. And then their individual life situation, like we said they have to be able to prepare it. A lot of our clients are using walkers or they're blind or they have dexterity issues. So they can't prepare it. We can have all the fresh food in the world but if they can't do anything with it, it's not gonna do any good. Or they don't have the cognitive ability to turn on the stove. They can live alone, it's amazing, many people can live alone, but not have those things. So the right food. And then they have to be able to access it. So it has to be available for individuals of all ages and all life circumstances. And then they have to be able to easily obtain it. This is the biggest thing that we see there so many barriers to them doing that. They need to be able to either have the transportation to obtain it or others are allowed to pick it up for them, sometimes they're not, sometimes they can't have a proxy. Or delivered to them as as we do and available through all counties. At NMCAA, we cover 10 counties in our region, in some we see such a disparity between there's so many food deserts and way rural, Benzie County or way rural or wherever. And so they have to be able to do it. And as we all talked about the right time, so available to them on an ongoing basis when they need it.
- Thank you, Lisa. Sarah, what does being food secure mean to you?
- Yeah, good morning everyone. I'm happy to contribute to the dialogue this morning. I am with Michigan State University Extension based here in Traverse City. So as a public health nutritionist when I think of food security, the idea of community food security comes to mind and at its basic level, this idea is about making healthy food and water accessible to everyone. Additionally, it includes the fact that community residents obtain culturally appropriate nutritious food from a food system that is supportive of environmentally responsible practices or some that conserve natural resources and minimize waste. And also it considers the social and economic impacts of how the food is produced and who's producing it.
- Thank you, Sarah, and thank you panelists for sharing those different lenses of food security. I'm going to ask next, what is your organization's role related to food insecurity? And we'll start with Lisa this time.
- Yes, so at NMCAA, we have a few different programs for food security or food assistance. So I work with Meals on Wheels and that specifically with seniors and we have two programs with that. And I'm gonna talk about what we typically do, pre time pandemic, 'cause the next question is gonna be what happens with COVID 'cause it all changed. But one is for individuals who cannot get out, historically, these are individuals over 60, who for whatever reason, can't get out, it's taxing for them. You and I hop in a car and go wherever we want but individuals who are out there who can't do that. So it's taxing or difficult for them that they're home bound. And then for our, we had a congregate program for individuals over 60 who can get out. So we had 18 different centers across the region where they can do that. And then we have several other programs at an NMCAA, Commodity Food Program, the Commodity Supplemental for Food Problems called CSFP or the Emergency Food Assistance Program called TFAP and also Headstart. We have Headstart centers and these programs are throughout a 10 county area where we provide meals as well.
- Thank you, Lisa. Jody, could you tell us more about your organization's role related to food insecurity?
- Sure, our public school system carries out several child nutrition programs through the United States Department of Agriculture or the USDA. And on a state level, the Michigan Department of Education oversees those programs. At TCAPS, we participate in the National School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Afterschool Snack Program. Year to year depending on need the Summer Food Service Program. And also we supply food to headstart programs and some of our ISD communities. And all of these are designed to age appropriately provide the nutrients at meals needed for children of different school age levels. In some cases it might provide up to two thirds of the child's nutrient needs in a day. And as the things that have evolved, we are also looking at more public health measures where we are promoting normal weight and preventing the obesity and diabetes, epidemics we're seeing in our pediatric population. And also we are doing more locally with sustainable agriculture and Farm to School Programming and partnering with a lot of the panelists organizations that you see right here. So there is a component of education that started in 2004 when programs that participate in the National School Lunch Program also had to start having what's called a wellness policy that incorporated all of these things. So there's a nutritional component and educational components to that as well as physical activity and health promotion guidelines.
- Thank you, Jody. Cathy, could you please share with us more about what your organization does related to food insecurity?
- I guess I'll keep it to pre pandemic times as well since things have changed, obviously. Prior to the pandemic we had a very vibrant pantry, almost the school store concept located at Traverse City High School. And at that building, many of our students not only suffered from food insecurity, but unstable housing as well. There's a lot of couch surfing, there's living with relatives. There's a challenge to get to school. And we are also a member of The Northwest Food Coalition. So we're able to access food through Food Rescue, we have many donors. And then we would shop on a weekly basis, trying to put together healthier for foods for the high school students. They had unlimited access to whatever we provided during the week. And it's very humbling to look at these students who, picture yourself in high school students and not having enough food or being hungry and trying to get through the day. And then at the end of the day, they're leaving. They're really only able to take what they can carry with them. And so that's why for me with our School Closure they're not being directly able to be face to face. I really feel like these students are suffering. Transportation is always an issue. And so we're doing a little bit about reach with delivery to some very needy families. We also partner in with Jody with TCAPS, directing families to the food that's available at TCAPS, but again, transportation is a problem. So we kinda ended up being the catch organization at the end, if what the schools can't provide and then the other local resources, we do our best to make that need go away.
- Thank you, Cathy. Sarah, what is your organization's role related to food insecurity prior to COVID.
- Sure, yeah, so the Michigan or the mission I should say of MSU Extension is to create and connect people with knowledge that is foundational to economic development strong communities and thriving individuals. And we've been in existence for a little over 100 years and we're obviously a statewide organization and we also are a oftentimes a trusted community partner for many in our communities throughout the state on a variety of different issues. And when it comes to food insecurity in particular, I can speak briefly to the role and the effort that I'm directly involved in nutrition. So since 1994, so a little over 25 years Michigan State University Extension has been implementing a federal nutrition program, also funded by the USDA called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education or SNAP-ED. And the goal of SNAPE-ED is to increase the likelihood that limited income individuals and communities and families or SNAPE-ED eligible people are able to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. So in short, we, our staff, our community nutrition instructors work with our target audience to help ensure that they can put to use, for example, some of the foods, they may acquire at a food pantry, they know how to cook and use it and apply that education in their home environments or for they may be. Our work in SNAP-Ed includes partnering with organizations many of them are here today on this call, to provide education. And this education focuses on healthy nutrition practices. So this includes cooking with vegetables and fruits, whole grains, animal and plant-based proteins, reducing sugar sweetened beverage strategies, food safety practices. It also includes focusing on food resource management or strategies to support the ability to stretch food resources to support healthy diet. In addition to this education, we work in partnership with sites to support obesity prevention strategies that aim to make the healthy choice, the easier choice where people live, learn, work and play. And I just wanted to highlight two specific programs on this conversation today. One is called growing together and this work pairs our community intuition structures with our Extension master gardeners and interested food pantry sites to support the development of edible gardens. And this has been a pilot project with a number of States in the Midwest region. In 2019, we piloted this effort and grew and donated more than 2,500 pounds of fresh food with 17 pantries. Another initiative I wanted to mention briefly is called Voices for Food and this effort aims to support the development of a choice food pantry or one that allows people to select the food they'd like to take home as opposed to being backed up or pre-packaged. So that's the, in short that's our role as it relates to supporting food security.
- Thank you, Sarah. Jane, could you tell us a bit about your organization's role related to food and security.
- Yes, I feed people. Central Church Outreach serves hot breakfast five to seven days a week and we also are part of a network of other organizations mostly churches that rotate serving lunches and dinners. And so we take the Thursday lunch every week also. We provide some wrap around services connected to that since we're the one place that folks can get hot breakfast in town. Other agencies such as Goodwill Street Outreach and Department of Human Services and Northwest Health Clinics know that they can find certain people at our site. And so they also can make appointments and meet with folks inside here. And we are the only place you can get. Than if you have housing. So we're an address for many folks to be able to continue on getting their meal and applying for documentation, they need to get a job or to find housing. We benefit from the food from Food Rescue, Feeding America. The Farm to Neighbor program is amazing because it impacts directly the quality and nutrition of food that we have. We have, there's a young girl last winter, she was in the shelter. Her name is Anne and she was pregnant. Of course, so we were all very much involved with making sure she got what she needed. And through her connections with Goodwill and so on got housing in January and gave birth to her child. And this spring, she came and showed me little Amelia and said I just have to share this with you because you all were part of what helped me stay healthy so that Amelia could be born. And it's those moments that what we're doing really hits home or grateful for.
- Thank you so much for sharing that, Jane. I have another question for the panelists and this is a pre COVID question too. Some of you have responded about to whom you provide assistance within the community. I'm hoping you can share perhaps a little bit more data in terms of numbers of people you may serve. And Jane, I'm going to start first with you please.
- So the people that we serve are predominantly people with no housing whatsoever and people who live in their vehicles, you would be surprised at the network of folks that do that. We also, for people who have housing but are food insecure, folks who might not quite have enough for groceries or they don't know how to prepare good nutritious meals, so they'll come for a hot meal and that type of thing. We serve normally for breakfast we can serve from 40 to 80 people on a morning and our lunches can be up to 100 meals. We have folks for whom they grew up in households with very low skills which everyone probably deals with. That's a, I think a big factor across all the income levels. There's a fellow named Mike and he shared with me once that, he couldn't go live with his mom anymore because when he was growing up, all they ever did was drugs. And so he not only didn't he have, the nurture that he needed but he didn't learn how to prepare a meal. He didn't learn what foods he would need. He didn't learn how to do other social graces or other processes he needed to hold a job and so on. And so part of what I hope that we're doing is we're modeling what a meal looks like and that you have a fruit and vegetable and a hot meal or that you have dairy and some type of protein and a fruit for breakfast. So, we also have people of all, in the summer we see more children. We don't see a lot of children, which I'm grateful for because the school system does such a great job. But I have had one summer where a mother looking like a deer caught in the headlights and said that, she had to leave her husband and she's out in the woods camping. And for the first couple of months the kids thought it was really fun. This camping and coming to eat breakfast at our church, but it got old pretty fast. So everybody from that to elderly folks who have just lived a life of food insecurity, and this has become their normal and everybody in between too many young adults, that's for sure.
- Thank you so much, Jane. Jody, to whom do you provide assistance and how many people did you typically serve pre-COVID?
- Pre-COVID, TCAPS as a district have close to 10,000 students and school breakfast, lunch and snacks are available to all students, whether you have the ability to pay or not. But of our 10,000 students, about 35%, district-wide qualify for free or reduced lunches. And to qualify for a free lunch, it's basically a family making less than 185% of the federal poverty index, families that are participating in SNAP or WIC or other state or federal assistance programs automatically qualify. We automatically receive that notification. But on average, we were feeding about 4,000 lunches a day. I don't have the numbers for breakfast and that's paid free and reduced. So we have 16 buildings. Every school has its own kitchen. We had beautiful fruit salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars in addition to the meals that were offered pre-COVID and we'd source locally as much as possible. And we also provide two, three different Headstart programs. And we have, I'm not sure how many this year but we also participate in the Great State Readiness Program which is a state free preschool program that also provides free meals to all of their students. And in that setting, kids eat family style, their teachers eat with them. It's, building some of the skills that Jane was saying, a lot of our folks don't necessarily get at home and Headstart actually does a lot of those same things too. So we have a really wide age range and program range of kids that we provide meals to.
- Thank you, Jody.
- Thank you.
- Cathy, to whom do you provide assistance and how many community members were you typically serving pre COVID?
- I forgot to mention at the beginning that we also support the food pantry that's located at Traverse City Central High School which is one of our largest high school, and the Step specialists there prepare weekly distribution of a menu with healthy items to eat at home. And roughly she serves about 25 students on a Friday but those students also have access during the day or during the week to shop in that pantry as well. And then additionally, we started a partnership about three years ago with Traverse Heights Elementary, again a hub of a neighborhood where there's high needs where the staff wanted to create a community closet. And the need arose because many of the teachers at Traverse Heights Elementary were actually purchasing morning and afternoon snacks for their students. And when we heard of that we thought we have a lot of connections to great food, we can do something about that. And that has grown also into school supplies and personal hygiene items and such that the teachers and social workers can access. So between Traverse City Central High School, Trevor's Heights Elementary, and then our largest presence at Traverse City High School, which I'll just put as an aside. A lot of people in our region do not know that there's a third high school up in Benzie County, and that's actually one of our largest areas of need. However, I would say upwards of 400, 420 pre- COVID documented people that utilize the services on a monthly basis.
- Thank you Cathy. Lisa can you tell us about whom you're serving and how many people you were serving pre-COVID?
- So with Meals on Wheels just a little description, I mentioned a little bit before but there's individuals over 60. The counties we serve are Grand Travers Leelanau, Missaukee, Wexford counties. Historically it's been Manistee County but that's actually transitioning to the Manistee Council on Aging in January, but so five counties typically. And our program is not income-based, it's a federal requirement where we save about 30% of our funding from federal and state funds. The rest we raise, the part of the requirements is that it's based on age and medical nutritional needs. They never want money to be a reason why people don't get food. So that's a unique aspect of that. And so again, with home delivered meals those are individuals who are homebound, typically don't get out under normal circumstances. And so annually it's about 1500 seniors, about 200,000 meals. And then our congregate program, again for individuals who can get out we had about 18 different luncheon sites and that was about 1360 seniors, another 35,000 meals. And then the other programs that at NMCAA, it covers a 10 County region and that's Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Missaukee, Wexford, Antrim, Kalkaska, Benzie, Emmett, Charlevoix, and Roscommon. And those programs are income-based. And so the Commodity Supplemental Food Program or the CSFP program is individuals over 60 and that's a monthly food package. And this program was annually about 2,500 individuals, about 27,000 boxes. And then the Emergency Food Assistance Program the TFAT program was about 14,800 packages and those are quarterly. And then we have the Headstart program as well.
- Thank you so much, Lisa. Sarah, could you please share with us a little bit about whom you serve and how many people you serve pre-COVID?
- Sure, yeah, so through our work in SNAP-ED, we target as I mentioned earlier, our SNAP-ED eligible population. And so in order to do that, we partner with eligible school sites, afterschool programs, early childcare centers, senior sites, faith-based organizations and food pantries. And we reach people throughout the lifespan, so very young to very old folks. In fiscal year 2019 our statewide reach was approximately 22,000 adults and seniors and 47,000 children, which is approximately 70,000 people through our direct education efforts. In that same period of time, we also worked alongside our partners throughout the state and made over approximately 1,000 changes to policies, systems or environments in order to make a healthier choice, easier. Locally speaking we have four community nutrition instructors who support the six County Northwest Michigan region. And looking at our fiscal year '20 our staff reached a little over 1300 people through direct education and made, I think this is really significant looking at the data recently, made over 13,000 or reached over 13,000 people through policy system and environmental change efforts. And I think that's quite extraordinary in terms of the number of staff we have here and the reach they're able to make in our community.
- Thank you, Sarah. I know we are sharing a lot of numbers with you all here who are listening to this session. I did wanna just point to the chat where some information has been shared with you. We've been talking a little bit about federal poverty level and income. I'm just gonna read this for those who may not have access to the chat. For a family of four at 100% of federal poverty level, the annual income is less than 25,000. For a family of four at 185% of federal poverty level, the annual income is 46,435. So just to reiterate those numbers with you and thank you to you all for sharing information about those whom you're serving and the numbers. We're gonna ask you as participants, another poll question now. So you're going to see another poll question on your screen. We wanna understand the lens or lenses you're using to approach food security as a topic or issue. So if you could please vote and let us know this is multiple choice. I believe you can choose more than one perspective if you'd like. We have about 25% of you voted so far here. Just to give you another 10 seconds to respond here. All right, I'm gonna end the poll now. Share the results with you. So it looks like we have 71% of you joining from a perspective as a foundation nonprofit or business sector lens. 41% of you are from healthcare, social service and mental health. 30% of you are representing a public policy or education lens or perspective. 30% personal experience, 13% transportation or housing, 12% food sovereignty, 4% tribal services and 2% migrant services. Thank you for sharing that with us. It's really helpful to know who's in the room. I have two more questions for our panelists and then we'll have our Q&A. So panelists, the first, next question I have for you is how has the way you provide service or the needs you've seen related to the people you serve changed due to COVID-19. And Cathy, I'm going to ask you to share your perspective first, please.
- Well, especially since our largest location is within a school building, we had to rapidly change how we serving staff clients and so rapidly we moved to a curbside pickup program that we learned every week more and more about the chain of food scarcity. Remember when, basic supplies were missing from the shelves and no one knew about when things were coming in and there was a lot of panic and unknowns. So we relied heavily on the staff and the social workers and the Step's specialists throughout the district to gather information about the families that we were serving. And I would say we began that March 20th and we ran it through June 11th. And by about April, we had created a database, listing of our families, the number of people in the household. And we were actually doing a very good job of providing the dietary choices and needs that they wanted. We also partnered heavily with a lot of churches and volunteer organizations that while we couldn't be in the building they could bring items such as gas cards and phone cards. And so by the end of June, we were servicing over 300 people on just one Thursday out of the week. So doing almost what we were doing on a monthly basis in one day within two hours. So I think that really demonstrated the need that we had in the unknown times. And at that time to bounce down had asked if I would serve on the Purchasing Committee which is that's, how I met Jane as well. And we weren't allowed, I would say about the needs and the food chain and the items coming into town. And then also the school system picking up the food program. And it's still amazing to me the lack of awareness to resources, families. And I think it just is it's more indicative of how overwhelmed some families are with just keeping their heads above water, making sure that their kids are accessing their schoolwork and food. And so transportation, I see as a big issue to all of these services. And so further alteration that we had to make is one that we're very proud of recently because outside volunteers were not allowed into the buildings to help shop for the pantries and organize the food, those types of things, coupled with the fact that the federal government had cut some funding to TCAPS, we were able to donate. And so that caused a reduction of 50% in the hours of the school staff that we're actually responsible for the distribution of the food pantry items and other necessary household items. So we were able to secure grants from the Branch Evers Community Foundation which we're very happy about. And then we contributed 15,000 as well. And then I approached Dr. Van Wagner through TCAP and he was able to donate $5,000 as well for a total about $35,000 to make that those staff members whole. So if we couldn't be in there to help and deliver in sorts of items that fell upon these people and that's where we are right now, still we were hopeful yesterday to see if we would have more access to the buildings because of the pause. But we will continue to mobilize to that curbside pickup program, which we did before. And we were greatly assisted by Food Rescue during those times, and a number of private donors and community faith-based organizations as well. So we are currently working on how many baskets for those 100 students at Traverse City High School and we will be poised and ready to move to that curbside if that is what happens in school as well.
- Thank you, Cathy. Jody, what has changed for you and TCAPS in terms of the COVID environment?
- A lot, it's continuing to change as we speak. I will start with what we kicked off with in March the Michigan Department of Education allowed school districts to take advantage of a program called An Unanticipated School Closure which is generally reserved for natural disasters or building closures for various reasons. And that allowed us to feed all students 18 and under regardless of what school you go to. So you could live in Cadillac and you could come pick a meal up at when any one of our sites distributing food and take advantage of that. And it also allowed meals to be provided seven days a week on the weekends. And so initially we had four sites with curbside pickup where we distributed three times a week, for seven days worth of food. We did that all summer and from March until the end of September, we distributed 294,778 meals in our community. Once we went back face to face, we still had curbside pickup for students who chose to learn remote for the year. And then we had our kids in our buildings. And so we're not eating in the cafeterias, elementary kids are eating in their classrooms and our staff is delivering packed lunches to the classrooms. All of the secondary schools are doing it a little bit differently when I've been in the buildings they're basically tables everywhere. They're trying to have them seated in socially distant ways, but they're coming through the cafeterias in lines and picking up to-go-bags. So that's a very different for us that we've always operated under a school nutrition program called Offer Versus Serve where kids had to be provided with a certain amount of food based on food groupings for their age. But they had choice within it, and so it allowed for some of the preferences, it allowed me to work with kids who had special nutritional needs based on medical or disability needs. So by packing everything up in bags, it is somewhat limiting in terms of preference. And we we've gotten creative with working with kids who do have special dietary needs and communicating with families and teachers and getting these meals to them in a confidential way. I will also back up and say for our remote students and again, we just went back Monday with our elementary kids in the buildings. But transportation is a huge issue and our bus and transportation department has partnered with us and we'll deliver food to homes based on need as well. So if anyone knows any family that has transportation issues they can call the transportation department here and we can get meals delivered to people's homes. We have routes for that now. I'm sure I'm missing something. But the other thing I did want to add all students 18 and under can access these foods free of charge whether you're in a TCAPS or they are not. And any adult with a disability who's participating in any of the programming available through the TBAISD or any of our buildings are welcome to get meals at those sites as well.
- Great, thank you, Jody. Jane, how have things changed during COVID from your lens?
- Yes, so March was, like it was everywhere, things changing just about every day and then it switched to every week, but buildings, large groups of people couldn't get together. And so you can't have 80 people in your building for breakfast which is one of the most dangerous activities that we can do together. So in March, we shifted to serving our breakfast to the people who were staying at the Safe Harbor Overnight Shelter. And a lot of our services had to back way off. There was also a dynamic in the community although people were just adjusting to the pandemic and the stay at home suggestions. Their compassion was great, they were thinking about people who didn't have, who didn't have homes, but what that resulted in was a glut of food being dropped off near sites where folks knew people are camping and or living in their cars. And often it wasn't nutritious food, somebody wanted to help out so they went up to McDonald's and in that, 50 of something and dropped it off at this campsite. So in addition to getting a lot less nutritious foods, it was too much food. And so it was creating some sanitary issues. So that was a dynamic. I was able to communicate with some groups and get them into the network of things. Over the summer, we didn't serve breakfast. We found that people didn't wanna get out of their warm sleeping bags to come in if they didn't have someplace to come inside. And so we were limited on the services we could provide with our, we had more time to focus on our lunches. So one of the positive things was that we've started providing a vegetarian alternative along with our regular meal options. So that was, but that's, And now this fall, we've partnered with Safe Harbor and Goodwill, we're serving breakfasts at Safe Harbor Shelter with Goodwill staffing. And the shelter is open until noon for people as a warming station. So you don't have to have stayed there all night to come in and get breakfast or get out of the cold. So we're doing that now five days a week and providing cold breakfast boxes on the weekend. There's still a gap in the community that there isn't, aren't places for people to be out of the cold in the afternoons. Goodwill just does not have enough staffing. If you know of anybody, that's looking for a part-time job send them to the Goodwill website and normal places where folks might get some rest but are are closed down. And so all of the lunch and dinner meals in the community have been served to go because that's not safe to have that many people in a closed space. So there's no place for people inside to eat their lunches. The people have been impacted. Of course, the anxiety is raised, information changed quickly, but there wasn't a central place for them to receive their information. We were the kind of the continual place, I kept track of place, of all the information and would communicate with folks, but without being at our location, they didn't know where meals were moved to, which meals were still going on and which weren't. Where they could get the services they used to find at our facility. And I had one fellow he's on the autism scale and every day, every week when he came for lunch Leo would ask, "When are we gonna be back in the building? "When are we gonna be back in the building?" His anxiety was way off the charts. And so folks, just this morning talking with someone about trying to get something figured out and their social security, but they can't meet with someone face to face, it's on the phone and it becomes less effective or less satisfying for them to deal with the agencies that they have to deal with. So those have been some of the changes.
- Great, thank you Jane. Lisa, what has changed due to COVID from your lens.
- Everything as everyone has said. The pandemic is so antithetical to everything we believe in because more than a meal is so much of what we do. Seeing someone, giving them a hug, most of our volunteers hug people before we say hi. So we've really just had to change everything to be committed, 100% committed to always providing food for people. And then just trying to be creative of how to keep do it safely for everybody for the clients, for their families for our volunteers and staff. Demand has increased across the board for everything related to Meals on Wheels, with home delivered meals. I mentioned before that eligibility, before it was the people were home bound we had to really understand what that definition was. Now, everyone over 60 is eligible because everyone is safer at home. So that increased the numbers tremendously. And then with our congregate program as everyone else has said, people can't congregate to eat the meals. It wasn't safe so we, again, we pivoted to curbside meals and this has been very popular. I think it's because curbside so cool and chic that the seniors thought it was too. So actually, we've had people come out of the woodwork are people who really didn't do the car and get meals before because they thought, no it's for people that are old. And now it's cool. So in a lot of situations we really had an increase in some counties Grand Traverse and Leelanau 200 to 400% increase in the numbers of people. So I mentioned before we had about 18 meal sites, many of them had to close down but we replaced them with about 10 curbside pickup sites. And we've had about the same number of congregate meals even though many of our sites closed just because of the increase in numbers at many places. And as Jane was talking about there've been some silver linings and some of the curbside places, especially in Grand Traverse they tried to make it fun. They would dress up, they would hand out Corona cation packages and so again we provide meals and then way more than a meal. So we've been trying to just be creative on the more than a meal part and try to connect with people and make sure that they know that they're loved and cared about and things of that sort. So in terms of keeping people safe, we had three kitchens. One of our locations has 15 different routes going out every day. Well that wasn't gonna work with social distancing and keeping everybody safe. So across the country of what a lot of people have done is pivoted to weekly frozen meals. And so we do that so that we can stagger the pickup times and things of that sort. And so when we deliver looks very different, again we're committed to providing the food, but in a contactless way. So we've asked our clients and work with their emergency contacts to put out something outside their door like a table or a chair we call or knock on the door, step back, six feet. We never leave the meal, but we make sure they come they get the meal, we are wearing a mask. We make sure that we try to connect with them as much as possible. Again, we're used to sharing stories and pictures and all kinds of things. Well, none of that, but as much as possible at six feet trying to connect with them and let them know that they're cared about. And the more than a meal part was also checking and making sure everybody was okay when they're there to there okay. So usually we have eyes, ears looking at the surroundings. So as much as possible, also checking in with people and making sure they're are right. Because sometimes we're the only people that they may see for that day or days at a time. So because we don't see them every day and the more than a meal part transitioned to friendly reassurance calls on the days that we don't check in. And some of those have been very extensive calls which again has been beautiful sharing stories that sometimes you can't in a few minutes session when you deliver. So it's been wonderful, from that aspect. And also making sure they're connected to all the resources that are happening virtually and also doing a survey and asking people what things we've delivered things like Game/Care Packs to keep people engaged. We also do in-home assessments a few weeks after they start in every six months. And that's usually again in the home another opportunity to have their eyes and ears and making sure everything's okay and that's transitioned to telephone. But again, that's another contact point that we can make sure people are okay. So funding we've been so grateful to the Area Agency on Aging for increased funding through federal funds and then also through other grant programs. And so we were able to, funding is always our biggest challenge and thank goodness through COVID we were able to receive some significant funds. So to absorb this increased demand the question is what's gonna happen now. We're still serving the same people, it's still COVID, but for the area agency we still have those increased federal funds but we're not sure about some of the other funding sources to round out what we need. NMCAA also has increased in other programs the commodity food program. Headstart had to change virtually when they weren't in classes. And so connecting with families virtually, doing a lot of case management, making sure they can have access to resources but now they're back in school and able to get those meals.
- Thank you, Lisa. I haven't heard Corona cation before. That's a new one, I'm gonna remember that. Sarah, what has changed for you and those whom you serve as a result of COVID.
- Yeah, so tagline of MSU Extension when some of you maybe familiar with this is this idea of bringing knowledge to life is what Extension does. And so we have been challenged with how to do this in a virtual and a remote way which can be really challenging. And many folks these days of course are on the computer using technology. And so how to maintain engagement with our target audience in a way that is effective. And since March, as an organization and effort to support safety of our staff and in our greater communities we've delivering all of this work, as I mentioned, virtually and we've all been doing this from home. And so we've gotten to know this colleagues are our kids fly by the screen or its someone's dog on their lap. And so we've had to be working from a space that is very empathetic and one of grace and impatience as all of us have really. And earlier on in the pandemic in March we've also had to address access to the web. So not only for our participants and acknowledging this barrier for many people, just having access to strong and reliable internet, it's such an issue that's really been highlighted exacerbated in the last several months, but also for our staff who may live in rural corners of the state, we've been able to provide them with support to boost their ability, to continue to do their job at home. See what else comes to mind? I'd say the primary change has been really adapting our work and retooling our work from an in-person environment to a virtual environment and having support for staff to increase their confidence and knowledge of using platforms like Zoom or Google Hangout or Google Classroom, which is the one that many of our school partners use so that they can be effective. And in mastering the functions, all these virtual platforms that allow them to enhance engagement and support our learning objectives with participants. We've also had a number of staff who just have said, sometimes we just pick up the phone and call our partners checking how they're doing, what's going on? What sort of needs are you seeing? What are you seeing on the ground? How can we support you? So being adaptive, we've had staff increase their skills in producing and editing videos from their home. And we have a YouTube Channel, My Health Matters, Pharmacy Extension. So we have staff that are illustrating and showing things from all sorts of things from how to make energy bites from pantry staple ingredients to how to do Cherry yoga at home. And so I think overall, it's this idea of being adaptive, understanding how we can best support the needs of our community. I think when it comes to, the second part of the question about or what's changed with the people we serve, I think certainly naturally speaking, we've seen a huge uptick in people's interest in home gardening and in many cases cooking from home. So those sorts of areas fit really well in terms of the work that we're doing with the NMS extension within our Health and Nutrition Institute but also amongst our other colleagues who work in community food systems and consumer horticulture. So there's been a number of ways we've been able to adapt our core work and make it applicable to the needs of the community.
- Thank you, Sarah. I do have one more question for our panelists here and panelists I'm going to ask you just to share if you can a very high level response to this just with consideration for our time. So my final question to you is basically what needs to happen now? Jane, I'm going to start with you.
- Very simple, stable housing, increase in stable housing options. Because for folks who have no housing, the first step toward being food secure is having a stable environment so they can pay attention and work towards achieving that. And way folks can help us making sure this stays on the table at local state and federal decision-making tables.
- Thank you, Jane. Lisa, what are your thoughts about what needs to happen now?
- Going back to the first question make sure that we have healthy food available for all individuals and families in our region. Everyone knows about it, how to obtain it, and it's easy for them to obtain it.
- Thank you. Sarah, what do you think needs to happen now?
- Yeah, so following some organizational, organizations that I follow in terms of what recommendations they have as it relates to supporting food security. Some of the things that arises at the top are is acknowledging that increasing SNAP, how this effort can reduce food insecurity and increase health and economic security for a lot of our families in the short term. In many ways this ability to increase SNAP benefits for our communities can provide the biggest bang for the block, so to speak. So I would encourage and promote personally and advocate for increases to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as well as supporting and enhancing many of our federal public health nutrition programs.
- Thank you, Sarah. Cathy, what do you think needs to happen now?
- I reiterate what Jane has said. We see our clients a little bit further up the chain but they're still fragile. There's a lot of mobility transiency back and forth. Not only, we can't start to be self-actualized when you're hungry and you're not sure where you're going to sleep that night. And so I think also continuing the conversation between our local resources, sometimes we can get bogged down and not do like we're powerful at the national level or even sometimes at the state level. That's why it's so nice to hear from people like Sarah and what MSU is doing. But really locally what can we do locally within the networks of people and resources that we have. So again, I think building awareness that this exists again, I'm shocked on a daily basis that people don't know that there's a third high school in Shadows City. And also that there's almost 500 homeless students within TCAPS, that's a significant number. And so those are difficult conversations, but until we identify the problem, there's no way that we can help with solutions. And I'd like to just give another shout out to the Community Foundation, because I believe they've started a larger group network where they've set goals for 2030 about issues regarding affordable housing, affordable childcare, increased wages and mobility and transportation. They're all very related. So again, I think housing is affordable housing and transportation are the biggest need we to look as a community.
- Thank you, Cathy. Jody, what do you think needs to happen now?
- I think it's to be continued as far as the work I'm involved in, there have been rumblings the last five years or so from different advocacy groups to lobby and advocate for universal free meals in public schools. I would support that, I feel like we are demonstrating the need for that in this situation, as well as maybe revitalizing some of our summer feeding site programs. We know when Jane mentioned that they don't see kids until summertime at her program, that the need doesn't go away when the school year ends. And that would be something I personally feel like I could revisit in my department and advocate for. And then just the little things that I'm seeing and hearing within the schools that I think that maybe we can continue. And an example of that would be, kids are eating in the classroom and there are breakfast in the classroom programs that are promoted by a lot of different agencies and they've never fully caught on. But we've seen breakfast numbers increase in every single elementary building because it's coming to the room, it's free for all. And teachers have incorporated that into their day. And in the past, my understanding is that school breakfast is somewhat stigmatized. At lunch, you don't know who's free or reduced but at breakfast, the kids who eat breakfast are the kids that need to eat breakfast. When the playing field is leveled and it's delivered to everyone in the room it's part of the day, it enhances learning, It feeds these kids. I see that too, as something that maybe we can work on in our district, and I'm sure there are more, but I'm trying to find the silver linings in all of these different situations that we're seeing. And, lastly, just continuing to collaborate with you all. Cathy, I can't believe we've never met until now and Sarah and I do some work together, but I've really gotten a lot out of this personally and professionally. And I think that we can continue to move forward and make partnerships for our community.
- Thank you, Jody. And thank you all of you as panelists, it's been really interesting to hear how you've described through your own perspectives the layers that Mary Clulo mentioned as she shared her opening remarks, how we're looking at local, regional, state and federal programs and release together to support our community members here and how integrated all these different issues related to food security are with housing and transportation. So thank you for sharing those perspectives. We are gonna go to our facilitated Q&A next and we have three questions already listed here in the Q&A. If you as a participant have not yet had a chance to submit a question, please feel free to do that. I'm gonna take these questions in the order they were submitted. And just because of time I think we'll have to keep the answers pretty brief and just to one panelist. So the first question here is perhaps schools can formulate a food preparation class to include all age level students. Jody, would you like to address this question?
- Well, I love that idea. I think making it happen would probably depend on whether that would be curriculum based or whether that would be based on, some of the organizations that are here already. I know Extension has done and maybe Sarah could speak to that, has done some family cooking classes and other organizations have as well. I will take that and run with it as much as I can because I think it's absolutely essential as going forward helping kids be able to replicate what we'd like to see at home as they grow into adults with their own families.
- Thanks, Jodie. I remember when I was in school, I took a home-ec class and that was nice to learn some knife skills in.
- There aren't very many of those anymore. And that the school curriculums have changed so that those are electives at best. In our school district I know other districts do still have them, but I absolutely agree. And we will continue to move forward with some of the partnerships we have here to make those things happen.
- Great, thank you. Our next question is directed to Jane. Jane, this is directed to you because you mentioned the challenge of navigating all the services, but this person, "I would like some feedback and would like to know "if there's any discussion in the Grand Traverse area "from organizations to embrace the transitions "to success program that Marcella Wilson "is behind in promoting."
- Well, the first thing I'll say is I'm not familiar with that program is in the area, are any of the other panelists? Okay, so what I will share a little bit on some transitions that agencies are involved in. NMCAA does an excellent job. When folks get into housing, providing classes and neighborhood support and mentoring. Another place love incorporated does life skill classes. And one of the classes related to food security and nutrition is a cooking class where at the end of the class, they receive a slow cooker to do all the recipes that they've been learning. And the Northwest Food Coalition in concert with Food Rescue and some other local agencies opening up a teaching kitchen. It's stymied a little bit by the pandemic but you can look in the future that we'll bring in people from pantries who work at pantries and teaching them how to use fruits and vegetables and ways so that they can pass that on to people in pantries. But I would like more information on the Marcella Wilson program.
- I would encourage folks to share information with us directly who are participating on this call today. I feel like everyone who's here is an expert in whatever it is they know, and are bringing to the table. And we want to learn from you as experts too. So feel free to get in touch with us. I am looking at our time it's 1130 and I wanna respect that. I'm going to read the questions that have been shared. We won't have time to address them. We have a comment here actually from Dan Buran. He loved the idea of universal meals at school would welcome supporting that. Kelly Lively submitted a question asking how much overlap and collaboration happens among organizations, curious from any of the organizations, are there specific programs that could benefit from targeted changes in federal policy? Kelly, just to answer your question, we are gonna be talking a bit more about collaborative decision-making at one of our future sessions. So I think we're gonna be diving into that in the future. So I'll put a plug in there for attending a future session. And there was also a question in here about getting a copy of Seth's slides. We will put a copy of those on the Northwest Food Coalition website. So you'll be able to see those there as well as the recording from today's event and the pre-read materials that were sent out in the email to those who registered. I apologize, we're not able to get to all these questions here today. We'll make sure we capture these as well as additional feedback. We hope you share with us in your evaluation form which you'll receive as a link after this session, we wanna know what future topics you would like to see us address at our next five sessions. We want this to feel meaningful for you. And before we close today, we do have a final poll for you. This is a little bit of an experiment. We're going to ask you to co-create a word cloud with us related to this session. So you'll see the word cloud, here are a bunch of words. You should be able to go down to the chat function right now on your screen. And from Jennifer Berkey there from MSU Extension you'll see a link that says app.wooclap.com. If you click on that link you'll be taken to another webpage and you should be able to type in one word that describes today's virtual Food Security Summit from your lens. We'd love to know what word you would use to describe this. There's no space in Food Summit. If you're typing it in yourselves looks like community, gratitude, empathy enlightening, need, help, caring, mutual aid. We can see this changing dynamically as you share your words. Inspiring, de-stigmatization, empathy. Thank you. What we'd like to, in addition to this word cloud get some deeper feedback from you. We will be sending you, as I mentioned an evaluation form via email. I wanna encourage you to please fill that out. We have five more sessions. This is a 10 question survey, it shouldn't take you more than five minutes to complete. We do hope you'll join us for session two which is on January 12th at 10:00 AM. The second session is going to look at both government and nonprofit food assistance programs. We'll have representatives from government programs, from food pantries, from school nutrition programs, community meals sites, and other organizations. You may already be registered for this. I know many who registered today registered for all six sessions, but if you haven't please check it out and please invite others in your network who you think might be interested. I wanna thank our partners again and our hosts today, Northwest Food Coalition, Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, Groundworks Center for Resilient Communities and MSU Extension and to our generous funder Rotary Charities of Traverse City for promoting this learning opportunity. I wanna thank our speakers and our panelists for sharing your wisdom today and to all of you for participating. We hope you have a great day. Thank you so much for joining us.
Session One Presentation Materials
- Food Insecurity and ALICE: PowerPoint from the Session Introduction speaker.
- Food Summit Wordcloud: The word cloud we created in the session.
Session One Panelists
Director of Treasury and Tax
Mary works in Munson Healthcare in the Treasury department. She ran the food pantry for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for 18 years as a volunteer leader. She has served as the chair of the Operating Committee of the Northwest Food Coalition since March of 2018. Mary also participated on the systems team that created the Food Security System Map. She has a B. A. in business administration from University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Public Health Administration from the University of Chicago.
Food Coalition Coordinator, Food Rescue Coordinator
Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan
Bachelor of Social Work, Central Michigan University
Val works for Goodwill in the Food Rescue program. She coordinates the Northwest Food Coalition monthly member meetings and the gathering of pantry and meal site statistics on people served. She organizes collaborative activities for members such as food drives. She has experience with many food programs serving Northwest Michigan such as Commodity Foods. Val served as a Community Service Coordinator for 27 years at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency (NMCAA). During her time at NMCAA, Val helped found the Northwest Food Coalition in 1994. While coordinating the Food Coalition, Val also helped start Food Rescue in 2009.
She is a Traverse City native and lives there with her husband and partner in crime. She loves art and floral design.
Megan has spent her career dedicated to community growth and development, land and water conservation and restoration, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation. Pairing her professional experience in community and organizational development with a personal zeal for building trust and openness in decision-making, Megan founded Parallel Solutions in 2014. http://www.parallelmi.com
She is a 1999 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program. She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University, and pursued additional training in mediation, mindfulness, and workplace diversity.
United Way Northwest Michigan
President of United Way in Northernwest Michigan. Johnson joined UWNWMI from United Way of Central Iowa in Des Moines where he served as Director of their OpportUNITY Program, a collective impact initiative focused on reducing poverty and achieving increased financial stability for all community members. A graduate of North Park University, Chicago, Johnson is an avid cyclist and he and his family are outdoor enthusiasts with ties to Michigan.
Michigan State University Extension
Sarah Eichberger, MPH, RDN, is a public health nutritionist at MSU Extension where she provides statewide leadership in the area of developing and supporting implementation of policy, systems, and environmental change interventions within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program. Within her role, Ms. Eichberger is serving in her 6th year as a local site supervisor for FoodCorps.
Sarah has a Bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Michigan State University and is a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Sarah is a 1998 graduate of Benzie Central High School.
Manager, Meals on Wheels
Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency (NMCAA)
B.S. Finance and Management, University of Florida
Master of Health Administration, George Washington University
Since 2011, Lisa has managed Meals on Wheels of NMCAA, where she is passionate about serving vulnerable seniors in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties with delicious, nutritious meals and “so much more than a meal”, as well as collaborating with others in addressing food insecurity. Before Meals on Wheels, she worked with Building Bridges with Music, United Way, and taught volunteer management and management classes at NMC Extended Education. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Michigan.
Prior to moving to Traverse City in 2003, Lisa worked in Hospital Administration for 10 years in Washington DC and Chicago before transitioning to the non-profit field in San Francisco.
Lisa lives in Traverse City and loves exploring the beautiful trails and beaches with her two teenage kids and her 3rd child/goldendoodle.
Step Up Northern Michigan
Cathy O’Connor is a former educator, school administrator, School Board member and current President of Step Up Northern Michigan , a non-profit that serves the At-risk youth population in our area.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Jane Lippert is an ordained United Methodist Pastor and the Community Outreach Coordinator at Central Church, Traverse City Michigan. Her primary role is feeding and resourcing people experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity. In addition she serves on the NW Food Coalition Purchasing Committee. She has a passion for treating each and every person with respect in her ministry with Central Church.
Traverse City Public Schools Food Service
Jodi E. Jocks, MS, RD, CDE, CNSC, has worked with the TCAPS Food & Nutrition department since 2005, primarily assisting with student menus, including Farm to School initiatives. Jodi also works with students with special nutrition needs, including both medical and education in need.
Jodi is also a clinical dietitian as Munson Medical Center where her work is primarily based in the acute medical setting. Jodi has advanced training in nutrition support, neonatal intensive care nutrition, and diabetes education.
Jodi earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. She completed her dietetic internship at Regions Hospital and the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul/Minneapolis, MN.
Facilitator/ Technical Support
District Director – District 3
Michigan State University Extension
Jennifer serves as the District Three Director and provides administrative oversight for the six county MSU Extension offices in Northwest Lower Michigan including; Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska and Manistee Counties. She has worked for MSU Extension for 22 years and prior to this assignment she worked as an extension educator providing supervision for SNAP-Ed nutrition instructors as well as taught food safety education for the community. She has been active in multiple leadership positions within her community; PTO president at two schools as well as served as President of MEAFCS (Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators). Jennifer has been an active member of the Northwest Food Coalition by linking the nutrition and food safety resources to the pantry members.
She lives in Traverse City with her two daughters and her golden doodle. Jennifer enjoys participating in her daughter’s school and sporting events as well as hiking on our beautiful northern Michigan trails or boating on the bay.