Food for People fights food insecurity in Humboldt County

 

By Maya Pszyk
Flapjack Chronicle

With the economy in a rapid downfall food insecurity is rapidly increasing all over the country. Food for People is one of many organizations that provide food pantry programs in Humboldt County. The program runs a total of 15 pantries in the Humboldt County area ranging from Ferndale up to Orick.

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According to Jason Hervin coordinator of Food for People’s Pantry Network Program, the program is meant to serve low income families with supplemental food security.

“The program is a network of 15 food pantries that serve low income families with food each month,” said Hervin. “This food is meant to be supplemental to get them through those gaps where they are having a hard time feeding themselves or their families. We also work to help connect them to other resources in the community,”

The Arcata food pantry is one of four pantries that uses the complete choice model. This means that the individuals in a way shop for the items that they wish to receive using a point system. Other pantries use some element of choice in their distribution.

“What those distributions look like can be either a complete choice model, or where they get a box and then only select a few of the items,” said Hervin. “It looks different in each community. Also the size of the pantries differ as well based on the need of the community we try to have the number of distributions and the size of each pantry be enough capacity to serve the need thats in their community.”

While there are 15 pantries, individuals are encouraged to only go to one pantry per month preferably their pantry in their community.

“We try to encourage people to only go to one pantry per month,” said Hervin. “By doing this it is easier for us to meet the needs of the individual and create a more personal experience with our clients.”

The program also serves the community in other ways by providing plenty of volunteer opportunities. According to the program’s  volunteer coordinator Anna Kanouse, last year the programs volunteers put in 36,151 hours sorting and distributing food.

“At Food for People the time volunteers give us is golden,” said Kanouse. “Without a doubt volunteers are essential in helping us make sure that people in need have enough to eat.”

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HSU freshman Jenny Newbrough is majoring in sociology and is required to have 30 hours of volunteer work for her sociology course this semester. While she has already fulfilled the requirement she plans to continue her volunteer work with Food for People.

“I definitely enjoy volunteering with Food for People,” said Newbrough.“It has really opened my eyes to the issue of hunger in our community. I feel very grateful to have spent time helping people feed themselves and their families and it has really made me appreciate all that I have.”

Derrick Tarin is a sociology major as well and also chose to fill his volunteer requirements through Food for People.

“The program is very organized,” said Tarin. “They serve a good purpose in providing help to the less fortunate.”

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