Carden Conejo School, a private school that instructs 250 students from pre-school through eighth-grade, have devised an innovative program with the slogan “Hunger Hurts, Help Others” to build a commitment to philanthropy among their community while simultaneously creating a sustainable model that could be replicated in other schools.
The 2010 data published by California Food Policy Advocates states that 47 percent of adults in Ventura County experienced food insecurity. FOOD Share provides meals to 74,500 individuals each month, with roughly a 150 percent increase in the past four years.
“We’re excited to team up with FOOD Share and develop the Hunger Awareness and Action Program to educate our students about food insecurity,”
Recognizing that Nov. 12-15 was National Hunger Awareness and Action Week, the Carden Conejo community seized the opportunity to leverage the spirit of generosity that generally surrounds the pre-Thanksgiving holiday. Rather than provide students with a single day of instruction about the issue, the team sought to create a weeklong event that will not only educate them on food scarcity, but one that will also have them engage in direct service with Ventura County’s FOOD Share. Highlights of the week will include the following:
· Non-perishable Food Drive: Students will host a food drive with a goal to collect at least 200 pounds of food. Students place items into categories, take inventory of the collection and repackage them for FOOD Share.
· OXFAM Hunger Banquet: During lunch hour, children will receive a random ticket to access a meal based on global poverty rates from lush, diverse food options to a serving of rice, beans and water. Faculty and parents will lead discussions with students that will encourage them to share their thoughts on how first world to third world countries experience food insecurity.
· Share and Care: FOOD Share representatives will speak to students about the services they provide in Ventura County. Clients of the food bank will recount their personal experiences with food insecurity and the value of providing assistance.
· School-wide Bake Sale: All proceeds will benefit FOOD Share.
· Revised Curriculum: Faculty will adapt their educational curriculum to incorporate the issue of food insecurity into areas such as mathematics, art, physical education, language and writing, social studies and more.
· Testing: FOOD Share and Carden Conejo parents will create pre and post-tests to determine the amount of students whose awareness regarding food insecurity increased as a result.
· FOOD Share Tour: Students will have to opportunity to see firsthand what a food bank entails. The interactive visit will allow Carden Conejo families to understand the operation and management of a food bank.
“FOOD Share has been privileged to have the support of many local schools throughout the years. All of the steps Carden Conejo School is taking this year to open the eyes of young students to the issues of food insecurity is truly remarkable,”
About FOOD Share:
The food bank distributing millions of pounds of food each year to those in need throughout Ventura County, FOOD Share collects and receives food year-round, distributing through more than 150 pantry partner agencies throughout Ventura County, including Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oak View, Ojai, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Somis, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura.
FOOD Share provides food to more than 74,500 people each month countywide through its partner agencies and multiple programs. Programs include the Senior Brown Bag that provides supplemental nutrition to nearly 2,000 low income seniors, home delivered meals and supplemental groceries through the Oxnard and Ventura Senior Nutrition Programs and, the Kids' Farmers' Markets, offering nutrition education, healthy recipe preparation and taste testing and a farmers’ market free fresh produce “shopping experience.”
In 2011, FOOD Share partnered with Ventura County’s Human Services Agency to provide expanded CalFresh enrollment assistance. CalFresh, formerly called food stamps, is the largest federal nutrition assistance program that provides supplemental nutrition assistance to eligible Ventura County residents.
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