2018-06-06 / Front Page

Food insecurity in Putnam County

Purdue Extension Corner

What does food insecurity mean for Putnam County? Putnam County alone has nine food pantries, one non-food pantry, and two mobile pantry sites. There are a total of 4,490 residents who deal with food insecurity issues. These residents lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. And 45 percent of these individuals don’t qualify for nutrition programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Application Program) or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children).

Local food pantries help fill the needs not being met by the federal programs.

That is why the Putnam County Junior Leaders have partnered with the Indiana 4-H Foundation grant to do the “Indiana 4-H Takes A Bite Out Of Hunger” campaign. They are hoping to partner with Mindy Duckett (NEP community wellness coordinator for Hendricks, Putnam and Parke County) who submitted a proposal to the Indiana State Fair for the FAIRs Care program. This program provides state fair tickets to those who donate non-perishable food items to the food pantries of Putnam County or during a specified time at the county fair. Junior Leaders will also be working with Jennifer Cannon (HHS Educator) to create educational programs that will increase the community’s awareness of food insecurity issues in Putnam County.

The Junior Leaders are also planning to hand out vouchers to exchange for food at the Junior Leader stand located in the Putnam County Farm Bureau Inc. Indoor Arena during the fair. These vouchers can be obtained by donating three or more nonperishable food items to the Purdue Extension Putnam County office or at the 5K run on June 9 hosted by the Putnam County Fairboard to kick off the county fair. The run/walk will occur at the Putnam County Fairgrounds starting at 8 a.m.

As every project should, there are some goals that the Junior Leaders will drive to achieve. The main goal is to raise the community’s awareness of food insecurity, and all the issues that are happening every day in Putnam County. They hope to do this by reaching out through staged events to educate the public on the topic. Some other goals, are to partner up with the local food pantries and the local food pantry coalition to provide support and opportunities to tell their story, and to open the eyes of the 4-H youth to the local concerns with hunger.

You are probably wondering how you can help fight for this noble cause. There are many ways actually. In review, you can donate nonperishable food items at the Extension office or at the 5K run that kicks off the fair. It is actually a win-win situation, because in turn, you will receive a food voucher that can be redeemed at the Junior Leaders Stand during the fair. You can also donate and/ or volunteer at your local food pantry. All skills and gifts are needed!

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765-653-8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming events

June 7 – Sewing 4-H Workshop, 6 p.m., Extension Office

June 9 – FAIR Runner 5k Run Walk, 8 a.m., Fairgrounds

June 14 – Electricity 4-H Workshop, 9 a.m. – Noon, Harris Hall Fairgrounds

June 14 – Woodworking 4-H Workshop, 6-8 p.m., Steve Lien Shop

June 18 – Poster Making 4-H Workshop, 6-8 p.m., Harris Hall Fairgrounds

June 20 – YQCA Cert Program, Fairgrounds, 10 a.m., RSVP online

June 20 – YQCA Cert Program, Fairgrounds, 1 p.m., RSVP online

June 27 – Fashion Revue/Modeling 4-H Workshop, 6-7 p.m., York Automotive Building Fairgrounds

June 27 – Fine Arts 4-H Workshop, 9-10 a.m., Extension Office

June 27 – Public Speaking/Demonstration 4-H Workshop, 10-11 a.m., Extension Office

(by Jacob Beadles, Putnam 4-H Junior Leader Reporter)

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