Working Towards a Healthy, Hunger-Free DC

By: Melissa Roark, Americorps Anti-Hunger VISTA, DC Hunger Solutions ….. 

Lauryn ready for EITCRight here in our Nation’s Capital, nearly one out of seven households struggles with hunger, with uncertain or limited access to, or ability to buy, nutritionally adequate and safe food.

Founded as an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in 2002, D.C. Hunger Solutions seeks to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income District residents. Our three-pronged strategy includes: maximizing participation in the federal nutrition programs, strengthening and supporting policies that promote the health and economic security of DC residents, and educating the public about the realities of hunger and the solutions already at hand. Two current projects highlight some of the work we do in the community and ways volunteers can get involved in addressing hunger.

We just kicked of our annual SNAP/EITC Campaign that helps low-income wage earners benefit from these two effective anti-poverty and income support programs. From now until April, our volunteers will be at six tax preparation sites across the District educating the public about SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), screening clients for benefits, assisting eligible clients complete SNAP applications, and connecting residents with other nutrition resources in D.C.

We are also excited to be partnering with the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) and FoodCorps to place volunteers at 15 D.C. Public and Public Charter Schools across the city each month. Volunteers help FoodCorps members conduct taste tests in the cafeteria at participating schools where students sample the Harvest of the Month recipe and get excited about the healthy school lunches.

Working with our partners to connect eligible residents to SNAP  and students to the healthy meals served in the cafeteria are just two examples of how D.C. Hunger Solutions is working to create a healthy, hunger free D.C.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Melissa Roark at mroark@dchunger.org.