Archive for September, 2011


Rasmuson Foundation

Posted by Susannah Morgan, Food Bank of Alaska Executive Director

The federal government fights hunger in children through several targeted programs.

The largest of these is taken almost for granted – school meals. It is worth remembering the Congress founded the National School Lunch program in 1946 “as a measure of national security” because so many young men were disqualified for military service due to malnourishment.

Today, approximately 37,000 Alaskan children receive free or reduced price school lunch, and 14,000 receive free or reduced price school breakfast. While federal funds provide reimbursement for these meals, the State of Alaska administers these funds and each school district actually creates meals for their students. School meals are a huge and overlooked collaboration to feed our children.

The most popular federal program ever created is also designed for children: the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. Pregnant and postpartum women receive food assistance, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding assistance, and other services. Children up to age five receive food and health tracking and intervention. Approximately 27,000 Alaskan women and children participate in WIC – a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), State of Alaska, local municipalities, and nonprofits that directly serve women and children.

There are also three child nutrition programs aimed at children outside of school. The Child and Adult Day Care Program reimburses for meals and snacks at daycares, afterschool programs, shelters, and a few other services. The Summer Food Service Program reimburses for meals and snacks served to children during the summer when school is closed. Both of these programs depend on collaboration between USDA, the State of Alaska, and the daycare or activity program that is actually feeding kids.

How you can fight hunger in five easy steps (without opening your wallet):

(1)  Raise awareness. Make sure your coworkers, neighbors, and friends know that hunger affects 13.5% of Alaskans.

(2)  Preach 2-1-1. Dial 2-1-1 on your phone in Alaska and you will reach a friendly person who will direct you to local social services, including the anti-hunger programs in the area. Mention 2-1-1 every time someone talks about not knowing how to find services.

(3)  Advocate. All of the federal nutrition programs are, to one degree or another, under threat by federal budget cuts. Lend your voice by contacting our Congressional Delegation to tell them nutrition programs are important. Food Bank of Alaska sends out an Advocacy Alert periodically around legislative issues affecting nutrition programs; email rstilwell@foodbankofalaska.org to sign up to receive these alerts.

(4)  Invite a speaker. Invite an anti-hunger program to speak to your company, club, class, congregation, study group, etc.

(5)  Adopt a program. Research your local anti-hunger programs and choose one that appeals to you. Take your family to volunteer. Ask questions. If there is an opportunity, join the board of directors.

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Rasmuson Foundation

Posted by Susannah Morgan, Food Bank of Alaska Executive Director

September is Hunger Action Month. Too many Alaskans worry about feeding their families.

The most consistent source of food assistance for Alaskans is not a food pantry or a soup kitchen; it is a federal nutrition program.

Food Stamps is, hands down, the largest and most successful anti-hunger program in the country. Food stamps provides participants with money, on a special debit card, that can only be spent on food. In Alaska in 2010, an average of 76,445 Alaskans utilized food stamps each month receiving an average benefit of $173.78 per person.
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Rasmuson Foundation
Posted by Jordan Marshall, Initiatives and Special Projects Manager and Cassandra Stalzer, Communications Manager

Here’s an Alaska-sized and hearty THANK YOU to everyone who made the 15th Annual Educational Tour of Alaska for Grantmakers a resounding success.

First reports back from this year’s participants suggest they thoroughly enjoyed their visit and appreciated the opportunity to meet so many amazing Alaskans. (Read National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman’s blog post about the tour here.)

We at Rasmuson Foundation want to be absolutely clear: Credit is due to a huge cast of characters and partner funders. So, without further ado…

ROLL CREDITS!

**Every attempt was made to include absolutely everyone. If we failed, please accept both our apologies and our thanks.



Rasmuson Foundation
Posted by Susannah Morgan, Food Bank of Alaska Executive Director

A small amount of food was available from the Nome Food Bank when Rasmuson staff visited in June.

A small amount of food was available from the Nome Food Bank when Rasmuson staff visited in June.

September is Hunger Action Month. There are currently 90,000 Alaskans who are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The charitable anti-hunger network in Alaska is vast and diverse. More than 400 organizations across Alaska operate anti-hunger programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, afterschool and summer youth programs, senior centers, and so on. From Ketchikan to Kotzebue and Atka to Barrow, tribes, nonprofits and congregations are supporting food assistance programs for their neighbors. Most charitable food programs keep paperwork requirements to the absolute minimum, making it easy for Alaskans to access food assistance.
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Rasmuson Foundation
Posted by Susannah Morgan, Food Bank of Alaska Executive DirectorHAM_LOGO_

September is Hunger Action Month when we shine a light on the thousands of people who are working to reduce hunger in the United States. Closer to home, there are 90,000 Alaskans who are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If this was a disease, we would call it an epidemic.

Too many Alaskans worry about feeding their families. According to the Feeding America study Map the Meal Gap, 13.5 percent of us are food insecure. Feeding America, a national hunger-relief charity, reports that 77,000 Alaskans ask for food assistance from a food pantry, soup kitchen or shelter every year. Other facts about hunger from the organization include:
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