Food Security in Summer Months in Western MA

Food Security in Summer Months in Western MA

For children across America, the end of school means the end of book reports and spelling tests, and the end of school breakfast and lunch-their most reliable source of nutrition. In Western Massachusetts, 38,870 kids don’t always know where they will get their next meal. That’s one out of every five kids in the region. Across the country, more than 16 million children live in food insecure homes.

In the summer, these households that struggle to make ends meet all year long are faced with additional challenges. The meals children receive in school are not available and more families with children turn to their local pantries and meal sites to help fill this gap. As a result, these assistance sites can face increased strain on resources during the summer as they try their best to meet demand…

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Hilltown Families Field Trip to The Food Bank of Western MA

Field TripOn Saturday, Sept 15th, Hilltown Families partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for a field trip that combined both service-based and community-based learning. Our field trip involved a tour of The Food Bank in Hatfield, MA, led by The Food Bank’s Education Coordinator, Molly Coon. Families got to see the facility up-close and learn how The Food Bank operates, who it serves and individuals can support their mission. The group played games to aid in the understanding of the concepts of hunger and could choose from two hands-on volunteer projects: sorting donations and preparations for The Food Bank’s upcoming fundraiser, “Will Bike 4 Food.”  Here’s a slide show from our visit:

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Interested in joining Hilltown Families on future service-based and/or community-based learning field trips? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com to be added to our list of interested families/groups.

Looking for resources to support child(ren)/student’s learning of hunger and food security?  Check these out:

What to organize a field trip for your group to the Food Bank?  Find out more in this post:

What else? Find out how you can donate in your community and fight hunger in your backyard with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Hilltown Families Field Trip to The Food Bank of Western MA – Join Us!

Hilltown Families Field Trip
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
Saturday, September 15th at 1:30pm

Tour the warehouse, walk through the freezer, see the types of foods that are being sorted, and observe forklifts transporting pallets of food onto delivery trucks.   Play a trivia game following the tour to recall some of the key facts about how The Food Bank works. – Join Hilltown Families on Saturday, Sept. 15th at 1:30pm for an organized field trip to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield, MA.

At the beginning of the summer we wrote about the benefits of families, schools and organizations taking an organized field trip The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in our post, Visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts: A Community-Based Educational Field Trip for Kids. We mentioned that Hilltown Families would be organizing a field trip in September during Hunger Awareness Month and that groups and individuals are invited to join us.

We’ve set a date for our field trip: Saturday, September 15th at 1:30pm in Hatfield, MA!

Our field trip will involve a tour of the Food Bank in Hatfield, where 7.6 million pounds of food gets sorted every year!   Participating families/groups can see how the facility operates with pallets of food, the walk in freezer, forklifts and staff management.  Games as a group will be facilitated to aid in the understand of the concept of hunger, and there will be a hands-on volunteer project.  This is a free event, open to all!

If your family or youth group is interested in joining us, please sign up now.  We will need to know how many folks are joining us and the age range of the youth participants. Submit the information below and we will follow up with a confirmation and more details.

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9 Western MA Libraries Work to Banish Hunger

Western Massachusetts Libraries Work to Banish Hunger

The success of The Hunger Games books and movie has created a community of readers who have enjoyed reading and discussing the stories. A group of libraries in Western MA has decided to invite that community to join in an effort to help banish hunger in Western MA. (Photo: Participating library, M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury.) – Thank you to Mary Anne Antonellis for submitting this story.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, residents of Panem, a future country based in the ruins of North America, struggle to survive while working to support the glamour and riches of the capital. Each year, residents of the poverty-stricken districts are forced to choose two children between the ages of 12 and 18, to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal contest where the participants fight to the death until there is only one survivor.

There are more than 30 million copies of The Hunger Games trilogy in print in the United States alone. A film adaptation of The Hunger Games, enjoyed enormous commercial success upon its release earlier this year and the DVD is set to be released on August 18th, 2012.

The Hunger Games was written for a young adult audience but is widely read by people of all ages. While the story quickly focuses on the Hunger Games, the beginning of the story focuses on the efforts residents of District 12 go through just to gather enough food to survive.

The Hunger Games is a fantasy novel, set in a dystopian society of the future, but hunger is real issue that people in Western MA face today. According to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, one in eight people—at least 110,000 region-wide—struggles to put a meal on the table or has to choose between paying for utilities or buying food.

The success of The Hunger Games books and movie has created a community of readers who have enjoyed reading and discussing the stories. A group of libraries in Western MA has decided to invite that community to join in an effort to help banish hunger in Western MA.

The following libraries will be hosting events and collecting donations of non-perishable food items to be donated to local food pantries.The collections will begin August 1st and continue through August 20th. Some of the libraries are planning incentives to encourage patrons to donate generously.

  • AMHERST: The Jones Library, North Amherst Library and Munson Memorial Library are all holding food drives to support the Amherst Survival Center. Bring non-perishable food donations to any of these three libraries between Aug 1-20. 413-259-3090.
  • DEERFIELD: The Tilton Library will host a screening of The Hunger Games on August 20th at 7pm. Bring a non-perishable food item for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Before the screening there will be a buffet dinner featuring foods The Hunger Games character Katniss and her family survived on. Event is free, but must sign up to attend. 413-665-4638.
  • HADLEY: The Goodwin Memorial Library will have a food-for-fines program in August. Bring in non-perishable food items to have library fines forgiven. 413-584-7451.
  • LEVERETT: Patrons who donate non-perishable food items at the Leverett Library will be entered into a drawing for a set of The Hunger Games triology or a copy of The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion. 413-548-9220.
  • MILL RIVER: The New Marlborough Library will be hosting an event called Banish Hunger. During the month of August, you may drop off non-perishable food items at the library to be donated to their local food pantry. This event will conclude with a screening of the movie, The Hunger Games (PG-13) on August 22 at 7pm at the library. Admission is free with a non-perishable food donation. For more information contact the library at 413-229-6668.
  • PELHAM: Throughout the month of August the Pelham Library will hold a food drive for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. All contributors to the drive will be entered in a raffle for a copy of The Hunger Games trilogy. A drawing will be held on August 29. 413-253-0657.
  • SHUTESBURY: The M.N. Spear Memorial Library will host a screening of The Hunger Games on Saturday, August 18th at 7pm.  413-259-1213.

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Q&A: 19 Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity

QUESTION AND ANSWERS


Do you have a favorite children’s book that touches on the topic of food security/scarcity you care to share? Hilltown Families is collaborating with The Food Bank of Western MA on compiling a list of kids books that have to do with fighting hunger, soup kitchens, food banks, etc. for their Youth Action Hunger program.

RECOMMEND A TITLE:

Publicly post any titles you’d like to recommend below, or submit it privately here:

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FIELD TRIP: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

Visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts:
A Community-Based Educational Field Trip for Kids

The Food Bank Warehouse in Hatfield, MA.

The summer or fall is a great time to bring your children to visit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, along with their friends, school groups or clubs to learn more about an organization that plays a BIG role in our communities.

There are 350 local organizations, including pantries, kitchens, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, who rely on The Food Bank each week to provide groceries or meals to 15,000 residents in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden county.  Nearly one out of every four kids in Western Massachusetts, under the age of 18, receives food from The Food Bank.  If you teach your kids about food systems, include emergency food and consider a field trip to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

What happens on a field trip?

  • Tour the warehouse, walk through the freezer, see the types of foods that are being sorted, and observe forklifts transporting pallets of food onto delivery trucks.   Play a trivia game following the tour to recall some of the key facts about how The Food Bank works.
  • Participate in a facilitated activity to talk about what hunger can look like.  Where do we get our food from?  Where does it go to?  How many people struggle with affording groceries?  What are some of the ways everyone benefits from having a Food Bank?  Activities vary depending on the age of the group, from planning out a grocery store list given a limited amount of money, to reading a picture book, to answering true/false questions.  Check out the Youth Against Hunger Education Curriculum for more ideas.
  • Put your knowledge into action! Help The Food Bank with an on-site project or brainstorm a community service idea that you can do as a family after your visit.

How do I schedule a date?

  • The Food Bank is open Monday through Friday, 9-5pm.  Call ahead of time (413-247-9738 x114) to set up a day and time to visit.
  • Tours work best with groups of 6-20 people, and typically last 1-2 hours.   They ask there be an adult for every 5-8 kids.
  • The Food Bank is located at 97 North Hatfield Rd, exit 22 from 91N/ exit 23 from 91S.
  • Please wear closed toe shoes or sneakers.
  • For groups 16 and older, ask them about volunteering as part of your visit.

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