Fish-N-Loaves was fortunate to serve on the planning committee, as well as host a breakout session, for the 2017 DeSoto County Hunger Summit hosted at the Landers Center. 140 people attended the Summit. Guests ranged from business leaders and nonprofit executives to churches and government agencies. Together we learned some interesting facts about Hunger:
14.5% of DeSoto County residents are food insecure.
1 in 4 children in the US experience food insecurity.
Americans waste 141 Trillion calories worth of food every day. That is $165 Billion per year.
40% of the food produced in the United States never touches a plate.
As a takeaway, in an effort to combat these statistics, Fish-N-Loaves was awarded a mini grant after the aforementioned hunger summit, made available by the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi (CFNM).
Mini Grant Reception:
Unsecured Bread Box Time Lapse Video:
Would you believe it if you were told that 40 percent of the food produced in the United States never actually touches a plate? That being said, it’s estimated that 14.5 percent of DeSoto County residents know what it means to go without food regularly. And the Shelby County statistics are believed to be just as alarming! Solving hunger is no stranger to many great organizations in the Mid-South and we applaud their efforts on a daily basis. In order to aid those organizations and others that want to further improve the food insecurity issue in the Mid-South and beyond, many leaders in the associated communities have joined forces.
One of the Hungernomics.org community partners, Fish-N-Loaves, has begun designing and deploying secured bread box units with a locking system and a tracking system. The “bread box” requires participants to signup on the Hungernomics.org web portal to receive an access code. The access code enables a pickup time / package for the registered individual/family. This method works similar to a vending machine, where a code is entered and an individual/family gains access to a pre-assembled food package.
Therefore, the Fish-N-Loaves “bread box” will directly impact hunger and food insecurity in the Mid-South and beyond by offering On-Demand access to nutritious food for the residents within the communities. When a family is in need they are free to access the system without external intervention.
Hungernomics.org and its community partners pack the following items in each sponsored bread box each week:
Oatmeal 1 Box – 10-12 Single Packs
Tuna/chicken salad kits
Peanut butter and other nut butters
Pitas, pizza sauce, shelf stable parmesan
Easy mac / Hamburger or Tuna Helper
Fruit cups (Oranges, Pineapples)
Dried fruits: raisins, craisins, banana chips
Sunflower, pumpkin seeds
Chips and salsa
Peanut butter crackers
Snack crackers: Goldfish, Cheez-Its
According to our recent calculations, to fill the 24″w x 36″h secured bread box, costs approximately $50 each week.
If you and your group are interested in managing the food pickups and/or drop offs, goodie bag assembly, and restocks for an unmanned bread box, here are a few questions and answers that will help you to get started:
Q1: What is the purpose of the bread boxes?
A1:To provide nutritional food access to those in need.
Q2: I have organized a group of willing volunteers. What should we do next?
A2: Register as a volunteer on the https://hungernomics.org website then send us an email at fishNloavesAD@gmail.com to schedule a 15 – 20 minute onsite presentation with you and your team.
Q3: We have registered on the https://hungernomics.org website and attended the 15 – 20 minute onsite presentation with the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team. What should we do next?
A3: Secure an Aggregation Hub (location) that will be used to assemble the goodie bags. To note, the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team will need to have access to this Aggregation Hub periodically to monitor the operations as well as assist if/when needed.
Q4: We have secured the Aggregation Hub. What should we do next?
A4: Designate a team lead(s). This person(s) will serve as the primary point of contact between your team and the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team.
Q5: We have designated a team lead(s). What should we do next?
A5: Define the days and times you and your team will pickup and/or accept food donations as well as assemble goodie bags then have your team lead(s) communicate the days and times to the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team. To note, Tuesdays and Thursdays are considered the best days to pickup and/or accept food donations as well as assemble goodie bags. Refer to the latest list of accepted food items before picking up and/or accepting food donations.
Q6: We have defined the days and times we will pickup and/or accept food donations as well as assemble goodie bags and we have communicated this to the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team. What should we do next?
A6: Have your team start collecting food donations and assembling goodie bags and stocking your designated bread box every Saturday morning. To note, we ask that bread boxes are stocked on Saturday mornings to ensure families have enough to eat over the weekend when food is normally the scarcest.
Q7: We have started collecting, assembling, and distributing food to our designated bread box. What should we do next?
A7: Remain in constant communication with the Fish-N-Loaves / Hungernomics.org team so that we can ensure any excess food is stored appropriately. Also, in the event excess food will be wasted, we will help you pinpoint other partners in the Hungernomics.org network to distribute the food to.