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2022 Service-Learning Symposium: Local Food Poverty

Local Food Poverty

Authors: Meredith Dempsey

Faculty Supervisor: Anelise Farris, Ph.D.

Community Partner: Blessings in a Backpack

Abstract:

For my Service Learning Project, I collaborated with Blessings in a Backpack. This initiative packs bags of food for students at CB Greer and Glyndale Elementary who face issues of food insecurity at home. To get involved I volunteered to help pack these bags every other Wednesday for the semester. While working with this community service partner I realized just how prevalent food poverty is in our area, and I realized that the issue may never actually go away. In fact, the numbers are steadily growing. Just in the past two school years forty more students have signed up to receive these bags, and that is only counting students from two of the nine elementary schools in the area. Even though we are the ones packing the bags, we ourselves are still struggling to bring in enough food to meet the need in the community. With this being said, even though it is discouraging to see the food scarcity in the area, it has been worth it after hearing the relief and joy these bags bring to the students and families receiving them. In an effort to combat the issue we were facing of running out of food needed to pack bags I decided I would organize a food drive at Brunswick High School. After putting out posters and boxes around the school and in classrooms I began to hear stories of people who knew students on the receiving end of this initiative. I was told that these bags brought a lot of joy to the student’s every time they received them, and even that it was the highlight of their week. That brought a lot of perspective to why we are pushing through the struggle that has come with packing these bags, and choosing to focus as much of our attention and resources as possible to providing food for these students.