UPDATES: WHAT'S NEW?
Healthspark Foundation made its debut in February! The organization formally known as the North Penn Community Health Foundation has changed its name and brand to acknowledge its shift to a broader, countywide focus. The foundation remains committed to working with all Montgomery County communities and will to host convenings, foster partnerships, and conduct other activities that promote systems change and healthy communities.
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Thank you to everyone for taking our 2016 MontCo Provider Survey! By the end of February, we collected 41 responses from pantries, food cupboards, emergency kitchens, and social service organizations in Montgomery County. We’re excited to read your responses and use the information to build a more food-secure Montgomery County.

If you still would like to participate in the survey, please follow the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TBT8TJ9
 
EVENTS: SAVE THE DATE!
Spring is around the corner, and Hope Valley Community Church will be hosting a series of classes to teach you what you need to know to start a small raised bed garden.  Classes will include:
  • March 9 – Composting and soil
  • March 16 – Planting and caring for your plants
  • March 23 – Harvesting and canning

Classes will start at 7pm at Hope Valley Community Church, 501 Graber Alley, Red Hill, PA.  If you have any questions, please call 267-371-2711.
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Check your inbox soon! Next week we’ll be sending invites to our second Montgomery County Emergency Food System Conference, scheduled for Friday, May 20, 2016 at Advanced Living Communities in Lansdale. We’re looking forward to hearing from Janet Poppendieck, author of Sweet Charity?, about her experience studying food insecurity and how we can fill gaps in our communities. We’re also organizing breakout sessions with Peer Learning Circle facilitator Robin Rifkin. Come prepared to share and learn! Invites to come.
MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS!
Thank you to all who attended our Peer Learning Circle workshop on increasing nutritious foods to pantry clients. Representatives from Catholic Social Services – Norristown, the Coalition Against Hunger, and the Mitzvah Klein Food Project shared their efforts to increase options to pantry clients while also encouraging clients to choose healthy, perishable foods when available. Our breakout sessions focused on technological solutions to ordering and food choice, nutrition education for pantry clients, and bringing in more volunteers to help on a regular basis. Look for more opportunities to share experiences and learn from fellow pantry managers at our conference in May.
 
GRANTS: WHAT'S AVAILABLE?
HealthSpark Foundation will soon open up its next round of pantry capacity grant requests. Previously, the foundation has offered grants of up to $10,000 to emergency food providers in Montgomery County in 6 different categories:
 
1.Strategic/business planning
2.Staff and or board development
3.Transitioning to a choice pantry model
4.Systems or operating improvements
5.Data collection and evaluation
6.Physical improvements to pantry space
 
HealthSpark Foundation is looking for your suggestions of additional categories! Please contact Senior Program Officer Tamela Luce at tluce@healthspark.org and at 215-716-5407 (direct) by March 15 with your ideas.

The foundation will send an email out to providers when they begin accepting applications. In the meantime, review the foundation’s website for more information on this grant program.
 
COALITIONS: AROUND THE COUNTY!
The InterCounty Food Network will meet at Pottstown Cluster on May 2 at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Monica Oswald at foodcupboard@theopenlink.org.

The Nutrition Coalition will meet at 9 a.m. on March 17, 2016 at Lamb Foundation in North Wales, PA. Contact Britt Peterson for more information at Britt@mannaonmain.org.

Advocates Against Hunger will meet on Tuesday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m. at CADCOM. Contact Kary LaFors at AdvocatesAHLaFors@aol.com.

The Eastern MontCo Pantry Coalition will meet on March 18 at 10 a.m. at Calvary Assembly of God in Wyncote. Contact Pat Druhan at pdruhan@cadcom.org to get information about upcoming meetings. 

That’s all, thanks everyone!
MAHN Newsletter, 8.3.15
For more information, contact montcoantihungernetwork@gmail.com
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