Alliance Sponsors AmeriCorps VISTA Program to Bolster Hunger Free Communities

October 11, 2017

This fall, the Alliance to End Hunger’s Hunger Free Communities Network is embarking on a new initiative to build the capacity of its national coalition partners.

The Alliance has become an AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsor to assist Hunger Free Communities around the country to build their ability to measure and analyze local food security, and develop or improve community responses to relevant hunger issues.

Hunger Free Communities are broad-based, multi-sector coalitions that are committed to ending hunger in their communities. These coalitions—typically comprised of local nonprofits, faith groups, businesses and governmental entities—range in geographic scope and composition but at their core share a belief that to end hunger a broad range of community stakeholders must unite behind a common vision and strategy. Oftentimes in communities, many different community institutions address various aspects of the lives of food-insecure and hungry families.  However, there may be no single institution that is responsible for addressing hunger community-wide. This is the challenge HFCs seek to overcome.  Traditionally, the needs of hungry community residents have been addressed by a broad spectrum of government departments and private nonprofits without common goals or coordination.

The Alliance to End Hunger supports HFCs in their work to better understand hunger in their communities, identify and reach underserved populations, bring unconventional partners to the table, close service gaps among programs, create high impact programming, and identify new resources.

“AmeriCorps VISTAs will be integral to this work and can provide meaningful support to create community-based ‘end hunger’ plans,” stated Minerva Delgado, Director of Coalitions and Advocacy for the Alliance to End Hunger. “Building the capacities of HFCs will make a lasting impact in the lives of hungry people.”

Overall, the AmeriCorps VISTA program will help HFC coalitions to reduce food security by: connecting individuals with federal nutrition programs, education and training, and helping them make healthy dietary choices; empower community stakeholders and residents to work together to address hunger in their communities through collective action; build the capacities of emerging community coalitions by helping them create end hunger plans, design programmatic interventions, build partnerships and increase resources; and strengthen these HFCs years to come by implementing sustainable community-based relationships and systems.

This project will serve nine low-income counties across the country where community residents have started organizing or established a hunger free community initiative – with VISTAs hosted at community-based nonprofit organizations that are part of the hunger free community network initiative. The Hunger Free Communities and AmeriCorps VISTAs that are taking part in the initiative are:

  • Cultivate Community (Ypsilanti, Michigan) – Jami Lynette Throne
  • Dayton-Montgomery County Food and Hunger Coalition (Dayton, Ohio) – Terri Lynne Wehrley-Pyles
  • Hunger Free Oklahoma (Tulsa, Oklahoma) – Erika Furth
  • Hunger Free Tennessee (Kingsport, Tennessee) – Autum Martin
  • Hunger Task Force of San Francisco (San Francisco, California) – Yeojin Jung
  • Northwest Food Partners Network (Chicago, Illinois) – Briona Price
  • Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (Tampa, Florida) – Tyler Hoerst
  • VA 365 Project to End Childhood Hunger (Richmond, VA) – Brianna Upton

To learn more about Hunger Free Communities Network, visit http://alliancetoendhunger.org/programs/hunger-free-communities/.