October is Co-op Month, and we're celebrating all the ways cooperatives put values into action.
Recently we had a chance to sit down with Srijan Chakraborty, Executive Director of the Hunger Intervention Program (HIP), one of Central Co-op’s Community Partners for 2017. In honor of Cooperative Principle 7: Concern for Community, Central Co-op chooses several Community Partners each year, and through financial contributions and outreach, we support their work to sustain, nourish, and empower healthy communities in and around Seattle and Tacoma.
HIP works to increase food security for underserved populations in North King County through nutritious meals, educational programs, and advocacy. They run several meal programs for senior citizens
They run meal programs for both senior citizens and children, including programs which bridge the gap for students when meals are not available from school. This includes meals at parks and public housing for children and their parents as well as afternoon snacks at public libraries.
Srijan explains, “That’s the time when they have the homework help program in the library and it’s very hard for the children to concentrate when they haven’t had anything to eat for five or six hours.”
They also do classes that help people learn how to make healthy meals, grocery store tours to help them find healthy, affordable food, and food justice workshops, the goal of which is, “to help people understand the food system. For example, who is responsible for putting labels on the food, what are the things in the label and who decides what gets there, so that people can use that knowledge to read the labels and also to influence what goes on the labels.”
HIP also engages in advocacy work within coalitions like the Washington Food Coalition and the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition in order to solve the problems that cause food insecurity in the first place.
“At the end we shouldn’t exist, because food banks were created as an emergency provider and if we are in an emergency for 50 plus years then there’s a problem. We have made emergency the norm. Food agencies all over the United States are thinking of moving beyond emergency services, thinking of how do we solve this problem forever.”
As Srijan mentions in the video above, HIP sees Central Co-op as a good values match due to HIP’s emphasis on making food from scratch and healthy eating. If you are a supporter of a Seattle or Tacoma organization that promotes strong healthy communities, builds just and sustainable local food systems, and/or feeding resilient and regenerative ecosystems, please encourage them to apply. The deadline for applications for our 2018 Community Partners is November 15.
Date: Tuesday October 31, 2017
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