ATH responds to coronavirus: Updates in our fight for a food secure community

Helping Heroes KC

In times of crisis there’s an opportunity to rise to the occasion. To become a helping hero. To turn an ordinary act of kindness into something truly extraordinary. Our community is doing just that every day.

Help us give health and hope.

Our need for volunteers is greater than ever. The most critical need we have is for produce rescue drivers who can help us pick up and deliver donated produce from area farmers markets and already harvested fruits and veggies straight from the farm.

The next training is April 11 and will be virtual. Sign up here to attend and learn more! (We’ll follow up with exact details for the tech side of things).

Our commitment to the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and partners is stronger than ever. Please click here for an update on the safety guidelines we’re implementing this gleaning season.

“From the bottom of my heart, I’m asking you to step up to the plate so those in need can have something on theirs. We need each other to get through this and we will. I have no doubt we’ll come out stronger, braver and more unified in our mission to serve.”

-Mariah Friend, Volunteer Coordinator

Stories that warm our hearts

So many are stepping up to help put meals on the plates of others during this crisis. Below are just a few of the helping heroes and their stories. Help us highlight more #helpingheroeskc sharing on social media or contacting Mariah.

Nonprofit organizations are stepping up to serve the homeless in Kansas City during COVID-19 outbreak

We’re Open: Black Sheep feeds community in a ‘pay-it-forward’ way

In Kansas City, The Rieger Transforms Into Crossroads Community Kitchen to Feed Those in Need

Curbside KC The service industry, including many local restaurants has been hit especially hard by the economic effect of coronavirus. This website is a great resource for places offering curbside pick-up as well as information for service workers and ways to support this community.

Hungry to Healthy KC

Food safety facts

There are some concerns that the coronavirus may be transmitted via food or food packaging. We are monitoring and following the CDC and USDA safety guidelines and will be posting updates here. Please visit this article from the USDA for the latest Food Safety Facts.

Safety guidelines we’re implementing at ATH

  • Encourage staff and volunteers to stay home if they are not feeling well.
  • Implement remote work access if and when appropriate.
  • Increase efforts to maintain the cleanliness of our workspaces, fleet and packaging, using proper disinfectant directions.
  • Continue to advise our team to practice good hygiene (e.g., cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly), and take the necessary precautionary measures (e.g., avoid handshakes, social distancing when possible.)
  • Implement 20-second handwashing, hand sanitizer application or wearing food safety gloves before handling any produce or packaging.
  • Minimize the number of people dropping off produce at an agency, and limit the duration of drop offs.
  • Limit volunteer groups to 10.
  • We encourage populations most vulnerable to coronavirus to consider staying home.

“Veronica’s Voice is grateful for this partnership with After The Harvest which will provide fresh, healthy food to our residents this coming Spring. The food that we have been able to store in our freezer is currently providing healthy meals during this time of quarantine.”

-Lucy Bloom, Executive Director

Did you know?

In 2019, After the Harvest’s gleaning program donated more than 72 different varieties of fresh produce totaling 214,997 pounds providing a total of 523,013 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables for people in need.

In our region, one in eight adults is food insecure, but one in six under the age of 18 do not know where their next meal will come from. Read more about how we’re fighting food hunger here.

What Is Food Insecurity? Not sure what the difference is between food insecurity and hunger? Check out this informative article from another gleaning organization doing incredible work, Food Forward.

Give

During these uncertain times, it’s not possible for many of us to volunteer or physically participate in food relief efforts. We understand. It’s also true that many of us are facing economic hardship and can’t donate as much as we’d like.

$1 dollar provides 33 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables for one of our hungry neighbors. 

Even as little as $5 can provide the recommended daily amount of fresh fruits and vegetables for one person for 10 days. That’s a lot! Know that the money you give goes directly towards turning hunger into healthy, one person, one family at a time. 

Advocate

There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s risk for food insecurity. The Food and Research Action Center is a great resource for examining policies that impact the stability of our food system and identifying barriers to equal access for all. They are following the coronavirus crisis closely and have tangible ways for you to help. 

Resources if you (or someone you know) need help:

While we don’t have the data yet, it’s very likely the number of people who are food insecure will climb during the coronavirus crisis and some may experience food insecurity for the very first time. We’re here to help. If you or someone you know needs a little extra, please reach out. While we don’t distribute donated produce to individuals directly, if you are gleaning or picking up produce as a volunteer and need food for your family, you are welcome to take what you need for the next week.

Find Food Assistance– Locate agencies that serve food in the Greater Kansas City area

United Way Resource Directory

Covid-19 Relief Resources for Kansas City -Via Uncover KC

Culturally sensitive and multilingual resource guide for refugees (scroll to the bottom) COVID-19 Resources from the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange

Help for how to prioritize paying your bills from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

Growing for Good KC

Support local farmers

We wouldn’t be able to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to our neighbors who are hungry without the generosity of the local farmers who donate fresh produce straight from their farms, orchards or gardens.

Right now, they need our help too.

One way you can support them and strengthen the local food system is by participating in a Community Sponsored Agriculture share. Not sure what that means? Check out this article with a list of Kansas City area CSA’s that explains more! 

“Most people have to eat, and we’re gonna be here to feed them. We got through the flooding last year, and we’re gonna get through this.”

– Michael Pearl from Pearl Farm

Plant a garden and plan to share

Now is the perfect time to get early transplants and seeds to plant a garden in your backyard, balcony or neighborhood lot. Kansas City Community Gardens is a great resource to get started and are keeping their doors open to keep our community fed. Go here for their Coronavirus update to learn more.

Buy groceries at the farmers market

There is a plethora of farmers markets in Missouri and Kansas. Since they’re essential businesses, many plan to stay open. Here’s a list of where you can go near you (please check directly with the market for the most up-to-date news on how Coronavirus may be affecting hours, procedures, etc.)

“We hope that farmers’ markets will remain open as we believe these are a vital part of the food system. We believe farmers’ markets should be treated as grocery stores and all other essential public services. After all, if you know the farmer who grew the food, you can count on one hand the (clean) hands that touched it.”

-Dave from
Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farms

If you’d like to grow a little extra this season or have excess produce you’d like to donate, please contact Gleaning Network Manager Zach for more info on how we can help!

*We will do our best to keep this space updated and relevant to the current crisis and how it’s affecting our work and the work of others in our community to feed those in need. Please reach out if you have something you’d like to share or an update to something mentioned on this page.

Thank you and remember, we are #OneCommunityKC!