One in five children suffer from the anxiety of not knowing where his or her next meal will come from, and 17 percent of Utah’s population struggle with going hungry on a daily basis.
The Thayne Center at Salt Lake Community College provides students the opportunity to experience an alternative fall break; working on service projects with the Utah Food Co-op, Real Food Rising and the Utah Food Bank, which are non-profit organizations that address Utah’s food insecurity epidemic.
“Students who participate in alternative breaks become change agents. The experience empowers them to stay in school and to complete their education,” says Linnie Spor, service leadership coordinator for the Thayne Center.
Real Food Rising, a community farming program, educates Utah citizens in sustainable agriculture.
According to their website, the food they grow feeds “all sectors of the community, with some being donated to emergency food pantries, some being sold at farmers markets, and some being sold to restaurants.”
The Utah Food Co-op provides low income families with the opportunity to purchase organic foods at a low cost. According to their website, the markup on items is only 5 to 25 cents, and all of the profits are donated to a local charity each month.
Utah Food Bank stocks several food pantries throughout the state, and have after school programs for children that are geared towards reducing hunger.
“People can donate little snack foods for children that are packed in their backpacks at the end of every week, so they don’t go hungry over the weekend,” says Spor.
The alternative fall break is limited to 20 students. Those interested are required to attend one orientation meeting, where they’ll be educated about hunger in Utah
“We don’t just pop in and say ‘Hey we’re here to save the day’,” says Spor.
Orientation meetings are held from Sep. 4 through Sep 9.
Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis upon the completion of the meetings.
Spor has been working with nonprofit organizations for over 25 years and says that it has been a very rewarding experience to give back to the community.