Looking Ahead to an Abundant 2016
December 31, 2015 by Helaine Geismar Katz
Cesar Chavez once said, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food, give you their heart.”
There’s no question food is life. And yet, so many in this country, and in our very own New York City, still go without. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, the five boroughs of NYC, collectively, have the second highest rate of food insecure individuals in the US—that’s roughly 1.4 million people, 420,000 of whom are children under 18.
“I am happily reminded of the power to make a difference that all of us possess when we work together.”
– Blair Soyster Fiore, ATE VP & BOD
At Ample Table for Everyone, we think about food insecurity every single day: The simultaneous abundance and waste, the connection between cheap food and systemic disease (obesity, diabetes); the college student forced to choose between buying books and buying food; the thousands of NYC children who go without when school’s out.
“Learning about the depth of the food insecurity problem has made me more aware of how it touches on so many problems in our society: Everything from raising healthy families, to being able to study effectively, to learning about nutritious foods to cutting down on food waste. ATE has seen over 160 proposals from organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity. The six we have funded–Corbin Hill Food Project, PS 84 PTA, Kingsborough Community College Urban Farm, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, NEBHDCO and The Sylvia Center—all share the vision and the energy that is required to make a difference.”
– Ann B Diamond, ATE’s treasurer & BOD
As we enter our third year of grant giving, and review the 22 pre-applications we’ve received this year, there are many reasons for optimism:
1) Acknowledgment of the correlation between childhood food insecurity and health problems in adulthood has led to such medical innovations as prescriptions for fruits and vegetables that are now covered by health insurance as a preventive measure.
2) A major push nationwide to increase the minimum wage to a livable one that will enable working parents (the great majority of people dependent on food stamps) to support their families.
3) A substantial increase in school-based (farm to school) and community farms as well as affordable farmers’ markets, which make fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible in neighborhoods that were once food deserts.
4) A plan to offer universal school breakfast in NYC classrooms ensuring that all children are nourished and ready to learn.
These initiatives, championed by thousands of individuals, politicians, farmers, chefs, celebrities and countless others working tirelessly to bring attention to the issue, along with the projects ATE has funded, assure us that our concerted efforts can ameliorate food insecurity in New York City.
“It’s a joy to become aware of how many truly good, resourceful people there are, discovering ways to spread access to wholesome, healthy foods, especially for young children. All these super hard-workers are characterized by grit, determination, kindness and intelligent commitment.”
– Rebecca Shahmoon Shanok, ATE VP & BOD
We are grateful and humbled to be part of this movement, and for the support of our donors who help make our activism possible.
From our table to yours, we wish you a joyful, healthy and abundant new year.