"In the face of the human need that is clearly evident in our communities, it is not enough to simply feed a community without also addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty."
~ Clyde W. Fitzgerald, Executive Director.
To build healthy and hunger-free communities for all, we are going to have to examine the root causes of hunger and challenge ourselves and others to deeper levels of conversation and action.
Hunger is not an isolated problem, but rather a symptom of other complex challenges facing individuals, families and our communities.
- Because the majority of households being served by our network of partner agencies have at least one employed adult, we know that food insecurity is a part of a struggle for adequate employment and fair wages.
Because more than 70 percent of households seeking food assistance reported having to choose between food and medicine or medical care, we know that health issues and access to healthcare are part of that struggle.
Because housing costs are consuming disproportionate amounts of family incomes, we know that resources for food are often compromised.
"If I have to seem poor and I have to stay in this box here so that you'll help me,
how am I ever gonna move out of that box, so that I no longer require help."
In June of 2015, Second Harvest Food Bank was selected as one of five food banks in the nation to receive a three-year Collective Impact grant from Feeding America and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Imagine Forsyth, formerly known as Collaborating for Clients or C4Cwork, draws upon the wisdom, expertise and strength of a broad cross-section of organizations and individuals to bring about large-scale social change that cannot be achieved by a single organization addressing a single issue.
Under this grant, our food bank is serving as the lead convener for a broad-based, collaborative effort focused on four key and connected issues impacting the quality of life and opportunity for people living in two low-income communities in Forsyth County: food security, income & employment, health and housing. Current collaborating partners include:
- Neighborhood Leaders
- Cooperative Extension Service - Forsyth County
- Crisis Control Ministry
- Financial Pathways of the Piedmont
- Forsyth County Department of Public Health
- Forsyth Futures
- Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC
- Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County
- Hands on Northwest North Carolina
- Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
- United Way of Forsyth County
- Wake Forest Baptist Health
Early work is focusing on engaging community residents; building trusting relationships among all participants; collectively defining the challenges within participating communities and establishing agreed upon measures for tracking progress toward goals that will continue to be defined and refined through an unfolding, inclusive process. Local funding support is being provided by The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, United Way of Forsyth County and the Winston-Salem Foundation.
Many similar efforts are underway in other local communities across our service region. You'll find a listing of those in which our food bank is participating here.
We invite you to listen in as Second Harvest Food Bank's Executive Director Clyde Fitzgerald speaks to Feeding America food bank leaders from across the nation about our food bank's growing focus on collaborative approaches to affecting positive change for families and our community.