The program write-up is available here.
We were honored to be the 2017 organizational recipient of the Make A Difference Award presented by the Henry Beauchamp Community Center of Yakima at their award dinner on October 26, 2017.
The program write-up is available here.
Fighting hunger is more than one individual or organization can do on its own. The story of Yakima Rotary Food Bank is one of cooperation and pooling of resources to fight hunger and provide nutrition for a healthier Yakima.
The overall intent of this blog is to provide a record of the individuals and organizations of the City of Yakima and elsewhere who have joined us in our cause and those in other communities with which we have joined to make our efforts stronger.
We hope you find our posts informative, entertaining, and challenging. Please dialogue with us by comments to our posts or by sharing on social media.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has published a research brief entitled, Understanding the Connections: Food Insecurity and Obesity. The brief cites extensive research (There are 95 endnote citations).
It reports on the following common items often associated with both food insecurity and obesity:
It concludes "That food insecurity and obesity can co-exist and are significantly associated in some studies does not necessarily mean they are causally linked to each other."
The key takeaway for me is that food insecurity leads to poor health, obesity leads to poor health, the combination of both leads to even poorer health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees with us that nutrition leads to health.
Allison Aubrey reports on National Public Radio that the AAP is now recommending that pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity. Reasons for doing so include:
Annually, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports on food insecurity and hunger in America. Shortly thereafter, Children's Alliance analyses that data and produces its own report.
This year's Children's Alliance report is available for download at http://www.childrensalliance.org/sites/default/files/Hungry_in_Washington_2015.pdf.
Key takeaways from this report are that hungry families are not experiencing an economic recovery and that households with children experience greater hunger and food insecurity than other households.
(My unofficial differentiation between food insecurity and hunger is that people facing food insecurity are not sure where their next meal is coming from and people with hunger discovered that their next meal did not come and they actually had to skip it.)
There are a number of factors impacting food insecurity according to the USDA. Among these are low wages, high housing costs, moving frequently, a high tax burden on low-income households, and low rates of participation in federal food programs. Washington has been ranked 50th out of the states for its regressive tax structure, 37th in reaching low-income children with summer nutrition, and 43rd in reaching low-income students with school breakfast. Yakima County has relatively low wages and high housing costs.
Currently, Washington ranks 28th among the states for food insecurity (13.7% or just under 1 in 8 households) and 23rd among the states for hunger (5.5% or about 1 in 18 households).
Hunger and food insecurity are major problems, only temporarily and partially relieved by organizations such as us. Children's Alliance has recommendations for government action. We concur in those recommendations but also encourage methods to increase wages, reduce housing costs, increase community stability, and promote a more progressive tax structure.
From the Yakima Valley Sun, Thursday April 21, 1977 -
"The [Yakima Rotary] Food Bank was started in 1971. The committee that planned the Food Bank included representatives from Department of Social and Health Services, Southeast Community Center, St. Vincent DePaul, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the Council of Churches. There was mutual concern felt regarding the need for all of us to join our resources in order to help people in need of food and coordinate planning to avoid duplication. Our information indicated that income for many - some of the older people particularly - is inadequate to keep up with increasing higher expenses, with the result that less money is available for food."
Thus, from the beginning, we were organized to meet a community need using community resources and organizations.
My personal involvement with the Yakima Rotary Food Bank did not begin until 1994. However, my wife and I were active in the anti-hunger movement in 1971. This was a time of consolidation of anti-hunger efforts. In the 1960's and prior, many churches had food pantries, literally in pantries. Food was gathered by members or purchased from pastor's discretionary funds and given to those who presented themselves in need. People needing food would go from church to church until they gathered the food they needed. This was expensive in terms of gas and time to the persons seeking the food and expensive to providers because there were no benefits of scale. Joining resources made a lot of sense.
This was also a time when food assistance was thought to be primarily for temporary emergencies, such as the loss of a job before benefits began, or an unexpected car repair, medical payment, or similar expense. It was unusual for organizations in 1971 to realize that there was structural hunger - caused by inadequate income to keep up with increasing higher expenses.
From our beginning 44 years ago, we have tried to mobilize resources to help people in need of food. Future posts will deal with some of our challenges and some of our successes.
Yakima Rotary Food Bank has been involved in the anti-hunger movement since 1971. These posts represent the views of Earl Hall, former Treasurer.