Groups to work together to fight food insecurity in area

WARREN — Local organizations are being asked to come together to help the Mahoning Valley deal with food insecurity for many area families.

Area food organizations, such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Lake to River Food Co-Op, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and others gathered recently at the Raymond J. Wean Foundation in Warren for a discussion on food insecurity,

Andrew Fisher, author of the book “Big Hunger,” spoke to more than 50 people on what he has seen across the country with people dealing with not having access to enough food. He said he has seen restaurants that help feed the homeless.

Fisher, a Liberty native who lives in Portland, Ore., said it is important to address the immediate hunger needs of the Mahoning Valley.

He said his book showcases food inequality and poverty and the relationship between corporate America and anti-hunger organizations.

Warren resident David Martin said, “It is impressive to see so many groups here that perhaps could play a part in decreasing the amount of food insecurity in the Valley.”

Cassandra Clevenger of the GROW program with Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, said, “We are looking at ways that we can work collaboratively. Hunger is an issue that we can have people who work in nonprofits, community development and social services come together. We all need to come together and come up with ways to eliminate this problem.

“It is important that we be reactionary and see what causes poverty. There are people in the cities and townships all dealing with this issue every day,” she said.

Plans are for another community program later this month with guest speaker author Mark Winne, who is writing a book on research he has done on food insecurity and what is being done to address the issue.

Michael Iberis of Second Harvest Food Bank said, “I hope the community continues this discussion because the goal is to eliminate hunger.”

Sarah Lowry, director of Healthy Community Partnership, said she hoped the message shared show how urgent the need is to address food insecurity in the Mahoning Valley.

“People need to have access to healthy foods. With many groups and nonprofits coming together, we can solve this problem,” she said.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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