Hunger Action Week an opportunity to learn, get involved

Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2020 2:57:59 PM
Modified: 9/18/2020 2:57:48 PM

Hunger Action Week kicks off Sunday, beginning a week of events aimed at addressing the issue of food insecurity in Franklin County and nationwide.

“The main point (of Hunger Action Week) is to support the local programs and take action to address root causes (of food insecurity),” said Mary McClintock, Community Collaboration Coordinator for Community Action and co-chair of the Franklin County Hunger Task Force.

Hunger Action Week replaces what would have been the Franklin County Hunger Task Force’s 16th annual Fill the Belly Bus Community Food Drive.

Throughout the week, participants are invited to several different events, including virtual workshops on ways to help make Franklin County a more food-secure community, or informative sessions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Healthy Initiatives Program (HIP).

In particular, McClintock pointed to, “Changing the Story: Overcoming Hunger in Our Community,” a free, virtual workshop addressing the questions of how to change the story of ending hunger in Franklin County and nationwide, as well as what can be done to make Franklin County more food secure. The event, scheduled for Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m., is one of the first events to take place during the week.

“It sort of provides the framework for thinking about this whole week,” she said.

The week also includes a handful of socially distanced, in-person events, such as an apple gleaning event on Monday at a Shutesbury orchard.

“You can either take them home for you or, on Wednesday, Rachel’s Table is going to have a bucket for people to … pass on to a food program,” McClintock said.

She noted that the programs are put on by several organizations, including Temple Israel of Greenfield, Greenfield Public Library, Village of Light Ashram in Leverett, and the Hunger Task Force.

“This is really a communitywide effort,” she said.

McClintock said if nothing else, she hopes Hunger Action Week encourages people to support the Franklin County food programs.

“Pick one, pick several,” she said. “Donate, volunteer.”

She said it’s important for people to also recognize this week that there are many people who, before the coronavirus pandemic, had never faced food insecurity and may not know the resources they have available to them. McClintock emphasized the importance of making those resources widely known.

Throughout the week, participants are provided with daily “action items,” which people can take to develop a better understanding of hunger and the systemic changes needed to end it, as well as the programs they can support to help those in need.

“It’s absolutely crucial to support … all the great food programs that are doing an amazing job of feeding people in our county every day, but it’s not enough just to do that,” McClintock said. “We also need to try and change the systems that mean there are people who need those programs.”

A full copy of events can be found at bit.ly/FCHungerActionWeekSchedule or on the Franklin County Hunger Task Force Facebook page, where events will be shared daily with the necessary log-in information for virtual events.

The Athol Daily News will publish information daily about Hunger Action Week. See Page B2 for today’s entry.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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