This blog post was written by Pack to Plate Public Relations Captain, Cecile Riker
Hello to the cyber world from Pack to Plate!
If you’re wondering what Pack to Plate is, you are reading the right blog post. As one of the newest 501c3s in town, we are only beginning to get the word out about what Pack to Plate is doing and hopes to do in the near future and beyond. This post will shed some light on what Pack to Plate is all about and includes a few (easy) ways you can help with our immediate efforts!
Some background information: Pack to Plate is the brainchild of MPA students Sam Perren, Sarah Sheehan, and Amanda Newell. The organization was granted official 501c3 tax-exempt status less than a month ago, but operations of Pack to Plate have been in full swing since this past Spring. After doing extensive research and identifying two broad-range issues in our community, food insecurity and an eroding food culture, the idea behind Pack to Plate was born.
The mission: Athens, Georgia has the highest poverty rate in the U.S. for a county with over 100,000 residents (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). This may or may not come as a shock to you. One aspect of poverty in Athens is widespread food insecurity: while 82% of students receive free and reduced price lunches at school, more than 1 in 3 students in Athens public schools lack reliable access to food over the weekend (Clarke County School District, 2014). Pack to Plate is a community solution that will increase food security and equip participants with the tools they need to cultivate a healthier lifestyle, all the while reducing food waste in our community. Pack to Plate will distribute fresh food to kids who need it most. We will partner with community stakeholders to deliver healthy food to children in public schools (throughout our Title I district) for weekend consumption. Each year the U.S. lets 141 trillion calories of food go to waste – enough food to fill Sanford Stadium to the brim (USDA, 2010, Bloom, 2010). To put this fact into perspective, these wasted calories account for 31% of the annual food supply in the United States (USDA, 2010). On a typical Friday in Athens, the average grocery store purges almost 1,000 pounds of food. Pack to Plate aims to connect these unused resources with Athens’ most food-insecure – the children who go home without a guaranteed weekend meal.
Goals: Five years from now, we would love to provide fresh, healthy weekend food supplements and a high-quality food literacy curriculum to every child in need in our community. Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, we want to make the difference that we can make right now in our community, providing as many children as possible with healthy fruits and vegetables to take home each weekend, starting with Fowler Drive Elementary. We will obtain this food in two ways: (1) food donations from retailers and (2) food purchased through donated funds. We recognize that lack of access to food is not the only problem facing children in Athens; educating kids on the merits of healthy eating and making healthy food “cool” is equally important. Through partnerships with teachers, schools, the University of Georgia, and community champions we plan to develop and implement a world-class food literacy curriculum that does exactly that.
Now that you know a little more about Pack to Plate, you may be interested in getting involved- WONDERFUL! Since we are such a young organization, volunteers and supporters are going to be a vital part of this initiative’s success in both the short-term and long-term.
What YOU can do:
- Help us launch a successful PR/social media campaign! Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/packtoplate), follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/packtoplate or @packtoplate), and follow us on Instagram (@packtoplate, which is still in the works- no posts yet, but hey, that means we won’t be clogging up your feed just yet)! Share our pages with your friends and encourage them to share with their friends! The beautiful and ironic thing about social media is it requires minimal social effort- a few clicks and the word is out.
- Volunteers are needed in every aspect: drivers to pick up/deliver loads of food, enthusiastic supporters to attend community outreach events and spread the mission of Pack to Plate, grant writers ($$$…pretty self explanatory), PR afficionados to help develop promotional materials, people to assist in pursuits/relations with community stakeholders, etc., etc., etc. Any and all help is appreciated!
- If you feel inclined to donate in any capacity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, the Pack to Plate Team greatly appreciates you taking the time out of your busy day to read this somewhat lengthy post. We appreciate your interest in what we are doing and we hope you will keep up with us! More updates to come soon 🙂