Addressing a local issue: hunger
Our local focus is on ending hunger because we believe that having enough to eat is a basic human right. Across America, the fastest growing food insecure populations are in suburbs. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, where Charlie lives, was named 9th in the nation for suburban poverty by the Brookings Institute in 2013. Poverty and food insecurity are linked to both unemployment and under-employment. Supporting a local food shelf helps people not only with the immediacy of food, but can also help with finding better employment, and increasing participation in local, state and federal programs that help people get beyond subsistence.
We have started with Excelsior, Minnesota and the ICA (Intercongregation Communities Association) Food Shelf, but intend to grow this into a more national effort.
We first connected with ICA Food Shelf through a personal connection and a focus on Excelsior in particular, where ICA was building their second location. It was surprising for us to find out that food insecurity was a big issue in the relatively affluent community, and that expanding food shelf services was serious enough to propose as legislation to the City Council.
We met with the Mayor of Excelsior and the then-director of the ICA Food Shelf to learn more about what was happening all over the US. The meeting helped us understand that there is an unbelievable amount of need here in the United States as well as on the other side of the planet. Being able to assess ICA's expansion project in person helped us make the decision to support it.
The ICA Food Shelf is JABOR's main partner.