FoodCorps and C&S Wholesale Grocers Celebrate National Hunger Action Month, Spotlighting FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Members and Their Local Stories of Food Insecurity
NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 13, 2021) — Today, C&S Wholesale Grocers, an industry leader in supply chain solutions and wholesale grocery supply in the U.S., joins FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that connects kids to healthy food in schools, to commemorate National Hunger Action Month by announcing the winner and runners-up of the sixth annual Victory Growers essay contest. The essay contest seeks to raise awareness of hunger in schools and communities across the country. All FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members were invited to submit an essay on the theme of hunger and food insecurity.
“C&S is proud to support FoodCorps’ annual Victory Growers essay contest. It was a pleasure to read through the applications and learn more about the difference these members are making in the communities that they serve. Congratulations to Tara and her fellow service members on a job well done,” says Alana Fiero, Community Relations & Communications Specialist, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
The winner of this year’s essay contest is Tara McDaniel, a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member who serves in Cedarville, Arkansas. Runners-up are Ann Dang, who is serving in Los Angeles, California, and Alicia Loebl, in Phoenix, Oregon.
Tara McDaniel’s winning essay centers around Cedarville, Arkansas, a community experiencing food injustice, with only one dollar store, one grocery store, and two gas stations. When a storm and tornado cut through the area resulting in power outages, the school was faced with the question whether it should remain open. McDaniel writes, “Our school offers 100 percent free breakfast, lunch, and dinner that meet National Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements. Simply put, if we were not open today, some of these kids wouldn’t eat.”
Runner-up Ann Dang describes in her essay how 24th Street Elementary in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles helped their community during the COVID-19 food supply crisis. The school tended to its 1.5-acre school garden and focused on producing and harvesting crops to donate to the school community in need. Dang writes, “We were able to change our model from contactless pick-up to an open market where anyone could come and pick out free fresh produce and were encouraged to take more—visitors often hesitating out of modesty or consideration of others waiting in line, wanting to make sure that there’s enough to go around for everyone.”
Runner-up Alicia Loebl recounts how the 2020 wildfires affected food supplies for families in the Phoenix, Oregon area. School districts and nonprofits worked together to support fire victims as well as families impacted by the pandemic by providing “Farm to Family boxes,” which contained excess produce normally sold to restaurants. At the time Loebl wrote the essay, she stated they distributed over 2,000 boxes and that they “hope to continue and expand this program to support not only our school community, but also our agriculture community and countless others around the Rogue Valley.”
FoodCorps is a national service program that teaches nearly 130,000 children a year about healthy food in schools through three main areas of service: hands-on learning, healthy school meals, and a schoolwide culture of health. With 200 AmeriCorps service members serving in 13 states and Washington D.C., FoodCorps partners with schools to create nourishing environments for all students. Since 2014, C&S Wholesale Grocers has partnered with FoodCorps to support its nutrition security and food education work in schools where more than 80% of students are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals.
For more information, visit www.foodcorps.org or follow @foodcorps on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. is an industry leader in supply chain solutions and wholesale grocery supply in the United States. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 137,000 different products. We are an engaged corporate citizen, supporting causes that positively impact our communities. To learn more, please visit www.cswg.com.
Together with communities, FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school so that every child—regardless of race, place, or class—gets the nourishment they need to thrive. Our AmeriCorps leaders transform schools into places where all students learn what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps develops leaders, forges networks, and pursues policy reforms that in time have the potential to improve all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. To learn more about FoodCorps’ work across the country, visit http://www.foodcorps.org.