Fighting Food Insecurity in Jackson County
Nearly 2,000 Jackson County residents are food insecure. In Preston alone, the Manna Center serves 30 to 35 families a month. Nearby, the Sabula Mobile Food Pantry serves 40 families monthly.
In the Easton Valley School District, 41% of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. “Sometimes the only meal a student eats is breakfast or lunch served at school,” says Nicole Christiansen, a volunteer and supporter of the River Hawk Assistance Program, which provides weekly backpacks of food for district youth.
To help ensure all people have access to food, the Community Foundation of Jackson County grants $10,000 or more to local food providers each year. In 2021, as needs increased, the Foundation awarded nearly $20,000 to food banks and school backpack programs.
"Food pantries and weekend backpack programs do a wonderful job of addressing food insecurity: Students learn better on full stomachs, and people of all ages are less likely to experience health issues if they can access healthy foods,” says Foundation Board Chair Ann Burns.
“The Foundation makes grants to improve quality of life for everyone in Jackson County, and addressing hunger is a critical component of our grantmaking,” Burns adds.
The River Hawk program relies on the support of community organizations like the Foundation. “When we are able to obtain a variety of easy-to-cook meals that students can safely prepare, we are filling in the gap of the ‘lost meals’ in their daily lives,” says Christiansen. “We are ensuring that they have adequately met their daily nutritional requirements.”
The Foundation works to understand local needs, build partnerships with leaders and organizations like food banks, and provide support. Join us to make an impact in your community.