During my seven years at the credit union, I received opportunities to work on a variety of initiatives both internally and around the community. The primary focuses of these initiatives were ending hunger, bringing awareness to financial education (k-12, adult) and increasing community support and development.
The thing that stood out to me the most was the significant amount of hunger in our community and the need for good, healthy food.
Hunger needs aren’t always easily noticed. It isn’t on the news very often; maybe around Thanksgiving and Christmas there will be a story or two, but it’s a relatively quiet topic considering how vital and present it is.
There are food banks and shelters in Kennebec and Somerset counties (in Maine) reporting annually that they are seeing increases, sometimes significant increases, in the number people (both adults and children) seeking assistance. Some additional scary statistics are:
- statewide, 1 in 4 maine children do not receive the nutritious food they need.
- according to the good shepherd food bank - 40,000 people a week were provided with food assistance last year.
- and in 2012, maine was ranked 19th in the country for the number of households experiencing food insecurity; 14.7%. While our ranking dropped from 9 in 2009 to 19 in 2012, our need didn’t drop. The needs in other states increased.
Volunteers at the annual Walk to Stop Hunger help load non-perishable food into a van for a local food bank.
I wonder why the need is so significant considering we are living in a time of incredible technology, information and ability. We have the ability to utilize these tools to do and create amazing things or to solve problems – look anywhere online.
So, what can we create that would make hunger obsolete? The obvious solution to hunger is growing more food and getting it to people who do not have enough. But, if it’s that simple why is it still such a significant issue? What is it about this problem that makes it so difficult to solve?
This interest and curiosity fueled the idea for the American Community Project (ACP). The ACP is about exploration and while there are other areas of exploration involved in this project, exploring hunger is the primary focus.
Myself and a group of friends will be leaving Maine shortly after the beginning of 2014 to begin a cross-country journey – 48 states in 48 weeks – to explore hunger needs throughout the United States. The trip will begin in Massachusetts on January 5th and finish in Maine on December 6th.
We’ll be traveling from state to state on mopeds to visit farms, food banks, shelters, schools and community organizations to talk to them about hunger. In each state we’ll be raising awareness about hunger needs – the challenges, the solutions and the stories.
At the end of the 48 week trip the funds raised by the American Community Project will be donated to one organization in each state for the purpose of funding an agriculture-based hunger solution.
Follow us on Facebook to receive updates, videos, articles, interviews and more.
Share this blog and the american community project with your friends, family and colleagues.
Support the ACP by making a donation.
“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” ~Thomas A. Edison