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I watched as a man shuffled down the line, he was given a tray with deep fried macaroni and cheese, deep fried chicken and deep fried zucchini. Farther down the line was expired doughnuts and slices of cake, at the end of the line, some coleslaw. He was homeless, and like many homeless men, women and children, this was probably the last thing he should be eating — his body likely in need of good nutritious meals.
This is a scene that plays out across the United States, particularly on the West Coast where homelessness is rising. Strained social service organizations grateful for any donations struggle to simply fill the stomachs of those they serve. But how do the homeless create a better life running on fried macaroni and cheese and stale doughnuts? To learn more about nutrition and homelessness, check out National Health Care for the Homeless Council https://www.nhchc.org/resources/clinical/diseases-and-conditions/nutrition/ .
Below are links we think are worth your time looking at community efforts to tackle the challenges of eating in poverty.
THE FARMS OF WEST OAKLAND
(1 minute read + 29 images)
Today, about a third of West Oakland residents live in poverty and with food insecurity. It’s a place where most people get their food from McDonald’s, the 99-cent store, or one of the many corner liquor stores. Due to a lack of nutritious food, low-income areas like this one face overwhelming rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes.
Emily Anne Epstein and Alan Taylor (text),Preston Gannaway (images)
| 16 December 2016 | The Atlantic
VIRGINIA FOOD BANK AIMS TO TACKLE ROOT CAUSES OF HUNGER
(5 minute read/listen)
Food banks face limited supplies. A food bank in Roanoke, Va., is working with local community members, health care providers and other nonprofits to explore new ways to address hunger.
Pam Fessler | 23 May 2017 | NPR
HOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT INSPIRED "THE WIRE" IS PULLING ITS RESIDENTS OUT OF POVERTY
(11 minute read)
When large institutions like universities and hospitals agree to hire and spend locally, they can transform neighborhoods hardest hit by poverty and unemployment.
Cecilia Garz and Araz Hachadourian | 15 March 2017 | YES! Magainze http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/how-universities-and-hospitals-unite-to-boost-local-economies-20170315?utm_source=YTW&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20170317
THE MOST SUSTAINABLE HOMELESS SHELTER IN AMERICA TEACHES SELF-RELIANCE WITH URBAN GARDENING
A homeless shelter in Atlanta holds a large garden on its roof, which is completely grown and maintained by its residents.The concept began in 2009 with the first harvest producing 55 pounds of produce. The garden has continued to expand into 80 garden beds growing everything from kale to carrots.
Kassandra Dzikewics | 15 September 2015 | Plaid Zebra
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co-founder of boundariesandcrossings.org