Parents Use Peer-to-Peer Outreach to Reduce Food Insecurity
Everyday in Chicago, one out of four children wake up not knowing if they will have enough food to eat. For the second year in a row, COFI and POWER-PAC have teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the No Kid Hungry Campaign to go door-to-door in three targeted communities to spread the word about free summer meals sites. Over six weeks this summer, the POWER-PAC Food Ambassadors knocked on more than 7,800 doors and spoke with nearly 2,800 families. Their work has also been featured in two different reports, Free Summer Meals for Chicago Kids -2012 and the Illinois Commission to End Hunger Report-2013 and was mentioned in a recent Chicago Tonight program on ending food insecurity (at minute 5:15).
Daisy Rivera, a longtime POWER-PAC leader and Food Ambassador explained the power of the program, “A mother came to the door and said, ‘I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t come.’ She was recently separated, cut off food stamps, had been in a car accident, and didn’t have a car or money. We gave her the flyers. She was crying…. She thanked us for the information. She had been laid off, didn’t have a car to take her kids to school. It was rewarding… to know we made a difference.”
Last summer, POWER-PAC Food Ambassadors also had tremendous success. During the six weeks of outreach, they knocked on nearly 5,000 doors and spoke with more than 2,400 families. In the three specific communities in which POWER-PAC went door-to-door, the number of meals served increased by 90% from the previous year! We are confident this summer’s outreach is having the same tremendous impact.