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Rural Child Hunger Capacity Institute

November 16, 2016 | Blog

I had the pleasure of spending the last three days at the Feeding America Rural Child Hunger Capacity Institute in Omaha. It was an intense couple of days, but well worth the time. It was great to meet other enthusiastic hunger fighters and learn from them, strategize with them, and simply get to know them. All 20 of us have unique challenges in our day to day work, but there are so many similarities that spending this time together was fantastic. The 3 main barriers to feeding in rural areas are logistics, expansion, and outreach. Our discussions via conference call for the next year will be based on subcategories of these three barriers. We were only able to have high level discussion for the most part during our three day meeting, but will have the whole next year to dive deeper into issues and discuss solutions. With such a diverse group, experiences differ as do approaches between the food banks so we all have something to contribute and learn.

My favorite part of the trip was our session on Best Practices. There was good discussion and ideas that can be directly and immediately applied to what I do on a day to day basis. I realized that taking this time to strategize should be something we regularly do. We need to step back from the day to day activities and look at a broader view. What minor tweaks can be made immediately and what major initiatives do we want to have as a priority going forward?

My minor tweak will be offering a family pantry box to our rural backpack schools. My long term priority is school pantries, but specifically I would like to focus on getting some mobile school pantries to see how that model works for us.

We also had a Shark Tank type session where we pitched our ideas on how to best utilize a $100K grant. This was really fun to dream and create solutions with our teams – a fun spin as we wrapped up the first long day of discussion.

We did set a goal as a group which is to develop a toolkit which provides strategies for overcoming the three barriers. This toolkit would provide template documents and case studies too. We want to share the knowledge with the other 200 Feeding America partners too.

Looking forward to the first conference call in April. Let’s feed some families!!!!

Kate Pauly | Regional Partnership Coordinator

Kate Pauly is the Regional Partnership Coordinator for Region 1, the northwest corner of our service area. She takes a holistic approach to hunger fighting, helping our partners find the best solutions to get food to people in need.

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