One Voice One Community
On November 18th the City of Ames sponsored One Voice One Community: a forum on community strategies and solutions as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Area non-profit and city leaders were in attendance to share with the community how they are working to fight hunger and homelessness.
The focus of the forum was collaborations and partnerships. Here in Story County we realize that nobody can beat hunger and homelessness alone. Local agencies do a great job of working together to address community needs in the most efficient way we can.
Cory Berkenes, the State Director of Iowa Food Bank Association and Cindy Jones, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach Worker were their to present about hunger in the nation, state and Story County. Some of the facts they shared are:
- 22.4% of US children are food insecure.
- 1 in 6 (50 million) Americans do not get enough food.
- 1 in 8 Iowans are food insecure. 1 in 5 Iowa children are food insecure.
- There was an automatic cut in SNAP funding on November 1st.
- 18.6% of Story County residents live in poverty. More poverty statistics for Story County can be found here.
After their presentation there was a panel of six local non-profits. They had the opportunity to share how they are addressing these problems in our community. The agencies were: ACCESS, The Salvation Army, Story County Hunger Collaboration (United Way), Emergency Residence Project, MICA and Good Neighbor. They shared how important it is to work together because nobody can solve these problems by themselves, and nobody wants to try to do it alone.
Some things being done in Story County are:
- Cooking classes at ACCESS.
- The Salvation Army helps people learn how to budget their income so they don’t have to keep coming back to the food pantry every month.
- Story County Hunger Collaboration brings together people together from various agencies to fight hunger together.
- ERP helped over 1,400 people pay their rent last year.
- MICA’s food pantry has served 3,266 households so far in 2013.
- Good Neighbor provides emergency rent, utility, food and gas vouchers.
One Voice One Community is an annual event. Keep an eye out for the event to come back around next year.
If you are interested in fighting homelessness and poverty contact the Volunteer Center to find an opportunity!