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Feeding Communities through Small Solutions and Systemic Change

The number of people undernourished in the world has been on the rise since 2014, reaching an estimated 815 million in 2016* -United Nations

If we’re going to reach the goal of Zero Hunger by 2030 as designated by the United Nations, then it’s going to take a lot of people working in a variety of ways to remedy short-term problems and strategize for sustainable long-term solutions. Fortunately, there are people and organizations tackling hunger through intermittent events and driving large-scale outcomes. On World Food Day, we recognize that United Ways are involved in several of these efforts.

Greater Twin Cities United Way, through funding from General Mills Foundation, is improving food access across North Minneapolis. They identified individuals and organizations leading the charge and are scaling solutions like a mobile grocery store, farmer’s markets, and youth-led bakeries.

In New York City, the Department of Education recently announced that breakfast and lunch would be free for all students. Programs like this reduce the stigma often associated with free meals and ensure that all students, regardless of income, are receiving the healthy fuel they need to be successful in school. Systemic solutions affect the direct beneficiaries, such as the students, and have positive implications for families who can devote more time to things beyond basic food needs.

Partnerships across sectors and industries also strengthen communities and maximize access.  In Columbus, OH, diet-related health issues are plaguing residents. To combat this, offering a better variety of healthy foods through the Fresh Foods Here program is one way that United Way of Central Ohio is helping residents. They’ve made nutritious options available in smaller, local stores and provide advertising incentives to the stores. Store owners like Mike Little, recognize that his neighbors are good, hard-working people, struggling to put food on the table. That’s why he has updated his inventory to include more fresh foods. This partnership program helps stimulate the local economy and makes it easier for people to choose nearby options that are quick and affordable.

The collaborative, cross-sector approach gets more people involved in identifying the food insecurity needs and problem-solving ways that work within the community. What are you doing to eliminate hunger in your community? Contact your local United Way and propose a solution or get involved in an initiative that’s already under way!

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.

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