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Event Details 
Food Insecurity: Key Organizations Serving Food-Insecure People in Washtenaw County -- 6/24/21 Daypass
#3: Thursday, June 24, 10:00 - 11:30 AM Key Organizations Serving Food-Insecure People in Washtenaw County Washtenaw County is wealthy. Median household income is $76,500, 28% above the Michigan average and 17% above the U.S. average (1). However, there are significant pockets of poverty in the county. About 11% of the population is below the poverty line. Similarly, 11% is food insecure, a percentage close to the national average. The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly worsened the problem. Since March 2020, county food distribution agencies reported a 30-300% increase in visitors. To quote one agency head, “[T]he pandemic created a perfect storm of food insecurity... We have never seen anything like it. ”This panel discussion will feature leaders of three front-line organizations doing battle against food insecurity: Food Gatherers, serving all of Washtenaw County, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, and We The People Opportunity Farm in Ypsilanti. Each leader will describe their organization, its target audience, and operations. (1) Figures from US Census for 2019 PANELISTS: Alison Foreman, Executive Director of Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels (YMOW), has worked with Ypsilanti area non-profit organizations for more than 15 years. Ms. Foreman serves on the boards of the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, Washtenaw Leaders Advisory and the Area Agency on Aging 1B Diabetes Program Advisory Group, and is a former member of the SOS community services board. She has appeared as a guest on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and CNN’s “The Lead.” Prior to YMOW Alison worked with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in juvenile justice and a master’s degree in public administration from Eastern Michigan University. YMOW provides nutritious meals, social contact, and other services to home bound elderly, ill, and disabled persons in eastern Washtenaw County. YMOW’s vision is a community where every senior feels nourished, valued and supported. Melvin Parson (AKA Farmer Parson), spent approximately 13 years of his life incarcerated, was homeless on 3 separate occasions, and battled with substance abuse for many years. He has experienced many of the challenges that come with being on parole or probation. In 2015, while he was earning a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University, he co-founded a mentor program for men and women returning home from incarceration called A Brighter Way. In 2018 Mr. Parson founded a nonprofit organization, We The People Opportunity Farm (WTPOF), to create a sustainable farming system that can support a workforce of formerly incarcerated persons. He believes a main factor for people returning to prison is their inability to find meaningful employment or enrichment opportunities. One of his goals is to provide a paid internship program that will act as a springboard to future employment, continued education, and meaningful strides towards caring about themselves, others and their community. WTPOF’s mission is to break the cycle of incarceration in Washtenaw County. Its Paid Internship Program includes farming activities, as well as literacy and learning related to organic foods, career-building workshops, financial literacy, and home rehabilitation. In 2020, WTPOF started a Food Distribution Program and has given over 1,200 lbs. of food to 300 neighbors. Eileen Spring, recently named 2021 Woman of the Year by the United Way of Washtenaw County, has spent 27 years at Food Gatherers (FG) and is currently President and CEO. Ms. Spring helped develop and steward a community-wide Food Security Plan that has dramatically improved the amount of fresh produce and protein available to individuals struggling with food insecurity in Washtenaw County. She has been active on the board of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, has participated at the national level with Feeding America, and is a founding member of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. She received her bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Food Gatherers was the first food rescue program in Michigan and the sixth nationwide. The food bank serves all of Washtenaw County and provides millions of pounds of free or low-cost food to a network of 170 hunger relief pantries. FG also provides direct food assistance in the form of hot meals, nutritious snacks, or emergency groceries to low-income adults, seniors and children. FG operates the Community Kitchen/Job Training Program at the Delonis Center, as well as Summer Food Service and Healthy School Pantry programs. FG also advocates for policies to improve food system equity. For more information and supplemental resources about Food Insecurity visit: https://mcusercontent.com/5101fdfef4d8f10bb23df2c8f/files/c9ac03d6-20a9-76cd-84e8-c6014db6d0ee/SLS_2021_Resources_0.pdf
Event Type : Thursday Morning Lecture Series      
Category : Summer Lecture Series
Date(s) : 06/24/2021
Day of Week : Thursday
Time : 10:00 - 11:30AM
Location : Online
Fee : $5.00
Event Status : OPEN