"On a cool Monday night I went to my first Hunger Action Team (HAT) meeting at Frog Hollow in Hartford. The members of the team were welcoming and willing to hear what I had to say about their projects. The main focus of the meeting was to discuss a proposal for Foodshare’s Partnership Fund.
Kate Shafer, from Hands On Hartford, presented a Kitchen to Pantry project that would be started at a nearby pantry. The goal is to introduce fresh produce in new ways. As one member mentioned, the target is to fight child hunger, and the presentation of new food is just as important as informing them about nutritional benefits and preparation. Another member asked about the kinds of recipes they intended to utilize based on the community’s cultural diversity. There was discussion about how the organizations would work together and what other agencies could be useful resources or partners with Hands On Hartford to make it a success. Ultimately, it came time to vote, and there was unanimous agreement among all present parties.
Next, I listened to an update from the Frog Hollow Street Team on their efforts to increase SNAP outreach and inform visitors at their farmers markets that they not only accepted EBT cards but doubled the SNAP benefits on fresh produce. While this is still a work in progress, it was informative to hear about what they will be improving on for next summer. Summer meal counts within the Frog Hollow neighborhood dropped within the past year, possibly due to the reduction of summer school days. The HAT will work on increasing participation for next summer.
Finally, announcements were made regarding upcoming events and resources that would interest the group. One note that I found particularly interesting was on Hartford Decide$. The participatory budget program allows residents (13 and older) to choose where to allocate $250,000 to better Hartford neighborhoods. I thought attending the meeting was valuable because I saw the dynamics and the cooperation among organizations and citizens in the area who are devoted to ending hunger."