Over 13 million children are currently food insecure (2016). Despite the wealth of the Silicon Valley, children and families in our community continue to struggle to make ends meet, particularly in light of extremely high housing costs. Our program has been working with numerous community partners to combat food insecurity.
In 2012 Dr. Lisa Chamberlain and other local pediatricians were seeing rising rates of food insecurity among her patients and their families. Not sure how to address this issue, she and colleague Dr. Janine Bruce reached out to the local Ravenswood City School District to see if there were consistencies in this pattern. Ms. Ruth Woods, Director of Student Services at RCSD, said that teachers, staff and administrators were absolutely seeing high rates of food insecurity among their students and their families. When we asked how we could help, Ms. Woods simply said help me feed the kids and their parents over the summer. It was from this conversation that our collaborative efforts were born.
The mobile meal program utilized transportation resources to lower the barrier to access these programs.
Mobile Meal Program
Although community-based partnerships with schools offer great solutions to address food insecurity, consistent access through the summer for children and families remains a pervasive problem. At the same time, families enduring this diffictuly face several other barriers including transportation, communication, and fear of public charge. Collaborating with a local mobile meal program, we implemented a mixed methods study to examine and ultimately highlight the importance of innovative community-based approaches to serving marginalized families during the summer.
Intergenerational Food Access
Many community-based approaches have been implemented to address child hunger and nutrition. A child's health, however, is deeply reflective of the health of a family. Nevertheless, limited number of programs have been created to address food insecurity within the entire family. Alongside our communtiy partners, we are evaluating the importance of providing meal access across generations and its impact in both children's and community health.
A family receiving summer meals through the program.