Nutrition

Nutrition

Swipe Out Hunger

College students studying while hungry.

Image from NPR

Food-less plate on graducation cap surrounded by caps with full-plates

Image from UDaily

Relevance of group

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

I chose to base my research on an organization that handles hunger and food insecurity among college students. The reason being that food and nutrition heavily impact academic performance, I wanted to provide a site that could potentially help out any classmates or peers who are struggling with food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as the state of not having reliable access and a sufficient amount of food to support one’s self or family. This issue has a direct impact on a large majority of people in this class since we are all college students and people who experience hunger. In a survey of 86,000 student participants done by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Hope Center), 45% of respondents were food insecure within the past 30 days. Food insecurity is very much an issue since students do not perform as academically well when they are unable to think and concentrate due to hunger.

History and Purpose

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

Swipe Out Hunger, a nonprofit group created by UCLA students in 2010, strives to minimize hunger by creating anti-hunger programs and activities formulated to empower and address food dilemmas on college campuses. This organization has also partnered with colleges and universities across over 400 different campus networks (Swipe Out Hunger). Furthermore, they promote programs within high-education institutions that are sustainable, student-centric, innovative, and destigmatizing to ensure food security for students. Since this organization began, it has provided 2.5 million nourishing meals across 41 states and more than 400 campuses.

For Whom?

Whom do they serve?

The target audience for Swipe Out Hunger is college students. Its primary mission is to provide food The target audience for Swipe Out Hunger is college students. Its primary mission is to provide food security for students on campus; they claim that a college campus may seem like a place of equal opportunities, but in reality, students from low-income families don’t receive proper access to basic necessities like food. According to American Progress, during the past 20 years, Black and Hispanic households have been twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white households. Furthermore, about 36% of first-generation college students come from minority groups; the most common predictor for food insecurity was gender, race, economic status, and living situation (being a first-generation student, borrowing money, etc.).

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“My academic performance has improved, socially I feel more connected to campus, and my mental health is much better on the days when I am able to eat on campus. I believe my physical health has improved overall since I’m able to get more balanced meals at least twice a week.” (Swipe Out Hunger)

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Available Programs

Programs offered?

This organization is challenging food insecurity within college campuses by developing on-campus solutions, pledging for changes through policies and advocacy, and student empowerment. Swipe Out Hunger has implemented several anti-hunger programs, such as the “Swipe Out Hunger Drive”, an on-campus food drive that enables fellow students to donate meals to their peers going through food insecurity. Swipe Out Hunger is also advocates for the Hunger-Free Campus Bill on a state level and other federal legislations working to end student hunger. They also train students to become leaders on the subject and take initiative to be at the forefront of every campus food security program.

Potential Improvements

What could they do better?

One improvement that I can suggest is having a few more examples of what they have accomplished within the past 12 years since they first launched their organization. It would be helpful for those who are interested in getting involved to see the exact type of activities, work, and programs this organization runs. Another tip is to showcase how their programs and actions have helped students from campuses, possibly interviewing or providing visual evidence on the communities they have helped at a few campuses over the years. The last suggestion is to include information about how their organization is working through the challenges of being remote, describing how their volunteers can continue to volunteer despite the pandemic. Other than that, they have a well-designed website that demonstrates years of work and dedication to ending the issue of student hunger.

Accessibilty and Red Flags

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Yes, most information on the site was easily accessible, the site itself was also organized and navigatable. I couldn’t find any red flags, everything about the site seemed legitimate and professional to me. This organization is passionate about the topic and its staff and board members are all highly qualified professionals. My only “flag” is I believe their mission statement should be a bit longer and more detailed. It was quite short and vague, the only way I could get more information about what their goals and aspirations were was to look through their entire website to get a better picture.

Other Organizations

What other organizations are doing similar work?

No Kid Hungry is another nonprofit organization that has similar values to Swipe Out Hunger. Their goal is to end childhood hunger in the U.S. This organization is run by another organization known as Share Our Strength and has been operating for 25 years. Share Our Strength works to end hunger and poverty in America, it is the main organization that runs several other branch organizations such as No Kid Hungry, International Grants, and many more.

Resources

Image one:

Nadworny, E., & Lombardo, C. (2019, January 10). Report: College Students Are Hungry And Government Programs Could Do More To Help. NPR-Education. https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org/2019/01/10/683302685/report-college-students-are-hungry-and-government-programs-could-do-more-to-help

Image two:

Ruth, E. (2020, April 23). Food insecurity | UDMagazine | UDaily. University of Delaware Magazine. https://www.udel.edu/udaily/2020/april/food-insecurity/

Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Nutrition, Poverty

Teen Feed

Why is the group that I chose to research important?

I chose to research teens that are facing homelessness as I feel that they are often overlooked. This is not something only adults can experience, but teenagers as well. They can face homelessness from a young age and are unable to have access to proper resources. They are at an age where they are growing and learning. Lack of proper nutrition and adequate basic needs is extremely detrimental to them. This is especially prevalent in the Seattle area. Teenagers that experience homelessness may feel embarrassed because of the stigma that comes with being homeless, and may be afraid to seek help.

Brief history of the educational organization that I have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

The organization originated as a result of the University of Washington Medical Center nurses working to help feed hungry youth. This was in 1987 when they noticed the abundance of young homeless teens around the area. They then began to work with the community to provide food for these youth.

Whom do they serve?

Teen Feed works to help homeless youth by providing them with basic needs such as food, assisting them in being aware of their healthcare options, and building relationships/connections with them among others. At their core, they are setting the foundations for help teens to get back on their feet and look ahead for a brighter future. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Teen Feed has connected with over 900 individuals, provided over 20,000 meals, and accumulated over $750,000 of donated items such as food. They primarily work in the University District of Seattle, as well as the South King County and Auburn areas. For the past two years, the organization has completely community funded through donations.

Programs offered?

Teen Feed offers multiple programs. The Meal Program allows youth to receive hot meals every night at various meal sites. This meal program is active seven days a week, 365 days a year, allowing youth to have access to at least one a meal a day, every day. The Street Talk Outreach Program Program (STOP) provides an opportunity for youth on the streets to connect with adults, in an environment where they are most comfortable. This allows youth to building a working relationship with adults and even offers employment experience. The Youth Access to Care (YAC) program works to assist youth in getting healthcare access. They bring awareness to the healthcare options that youth have.

What could they do better?

I think Teen Feed has done a very good job of explaining their organization and programs on their website. They are very clear on their website and provide thorough information on everything they cover.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Information about the organization is very accessible. Teen Feed appears to be extremely transparent and does not show any red flags. The website is neatly organized and has sections for their programs which explains in detail the how the programs are constructed. They also have an opportunities for volunteer work listed on their website as well. There are so many different roles that you can volunteer for to help troubled youth, ranging from preparing the meals in the kitchen, to being a nutrition guide, to actively helping youth on the streets one-on-on. Teen Feed also has a section on facts about homeless youth to bring awareness.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Other organizations that are doing similar work are Ryan’s House for Youth and YouthCare. Both organizations specialize in helping youth that are in need of help and nurturing them.

Resources

All information provided in blog post and image header.

Teen Feed. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://teenfeed.org/

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Nutrition, Poverty

FEEST: Making Justice Irresistibly Delicious

FEEST

“Our mission is to set the table for young people to transform the health and equity of their community by gathering around food & working towards systems of change” (Feest, Our Mission).

“FEEST works toward a liberated world where young people, people of color, immigrants, low-income and other marginalized folks can determine their own lives and futures” (Feest, Our Work: About Feest).

FEEST, Seattle

FEEST,  is an acronym for Food Empowerment Education Sustainability Team. FEEST focuses on the need for more healthier and affordable meals for students who don’t have support systems to maintain healthy lifestyles. FEEST believes that all students, regardless of the background they come from, deserve to have hot, nutritious, and fresh meals whenever they need them. With the fact that school is one of the only facilities that has the easiest access to hot and low-cost to free meals for students from low-income families, FEEST sees that they deserve more than “greasy, square pizza and almost expired milk.” 

HISTORY

Beginning with weekly dinners, FEEST opened in 2008 by seeking a community driven approach to reversing health inequities in some of Seattle’s lowest-income and most diverse neighborhoods. Opening this platform for people who are struggling with paying for everyday needs like meals, was FEEST’s goal. FEEST started out small with dinner parties, and eventually grew to be a non-profit organization that started to feed hungry kids at school.

PURPOSE

The organization is seeing that there is a continuing trend, of the devaluing of student health and a push to dump highly processed, unhealthy food into communities that are struggling. By conducting their own survey, FEEST found that 18.9 percent of Seattle Public School students enrolled in the free and reduced meal program actually eat their meals, which means 14,000 low income students aren’t getting meals everyday, which means that 1 in 4 students do not eat school lunch. Seeing this, student leaders took matters into their own hands, and decided to find youth-led solutions, by combating this issue directly with school principles, district dieticians, and other decision makers. Youth are in the lead at FEEST because the most effected create the most change. The site continues to say that when young people find solutions through creativity, the whole community benefits. The youth leaders at FEEST are organizing to bring more fresh, delicious, and “culturally relevant” foods on the lunch menu. This provides not only more health benefits toward children, but a lesson on diversity. This encourages students to try out more types of foods, and shows and allows them to experience different cultures in foods. 

WHO DO THEY SERVE / PROGRAMS

FEEST believes that physical and mental well-being can come directly from the food that students consume. While people with a higher-income can afford to bring a more nutritional lunch from home, FEEST allows everyone to feel like they have power to take care of themselves with good health and well-being. They see more behavioral and cultural changes where youth are making much more healthier choices in their everyday lives. 

Some of the programs they offer include youth-led dinners where students gather around to eat good food while sharing their cultures and building community with one another. FEEST also runs campaigns at their schools, provides free, healthy snacks for everybody at school, provides free grocery gift cards for families, and has meal delivery programs (for Covid-19).

WHAT COULD THEY DO BETTER / ACCESSIBLE?

Something that they can do better is learning how to spread this movement toward all of Washington. Not only does Seattle have low-income schools, but cities like Everett continue to have a high rate of poverty for students and families who barely have enough to spend on weekly groceries. As FEEST identified that school food is the biggest opportunity for improving the health of young people, I wish that this organization could be spread more towards the North where many people suffer from a lack of nutritional systems. I also would love more information on how they work on how to convince school officials. Other than that, information was completely accessible, and easy to obtain. 

Other Organizations:

  1. Northwest Harvest
  2. Hunger Intervention Program
  3. West Seattle Food Bank
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