Hunger Intervention Program Programs
Healthy HIP Packs
Hungry children cannot concentrate, pay attention and perform well in school. Students experiencing hunger are more likely to have emotional and behavioral issues and to be tardy and absent. Twenty-five percent of Washington children experience food insecurity. Hunger’s effect on student performance puts low-income children at an unfair disadvantage. Children in these families depend on free/reduced school breakfast and lunch meals, but these programs do not extend to weekend food provision. The nutrition provided by Healthy HIP Packs helps to reduce this disparity among low-income students in our schools. Every Friday each participating student receives foods sufficient for six nutritionally complete meals (including a grain, protein, fruit/vegetable) and two snacks. Packs always include at least two pieces of fresh fruit. Healthy HIP Packs are also an important vehicle for directly sharing information with families. HIP includes a weekly newsletter that contains information on community family resources, nutrition education, and free community events.
Weekly Food Bank Cooking Demonstrations
Each week HIP demonstrates how to prepare simple, nutritious meals with the foods available at the North Helpline Food Bank. HIP’s food bank demos aim to encourage clients to try new, healthy recipes and foods that may be unfamiliar to them. Clients are able to taste the dish onsite and are encouraged to take home a recipe and the ingredients to make the dish. Demonstrations reach an average of 100-150 individuals each week and potentially impact 250-300 total individuals living in these households. Recent recipes have included: eggplant meatballs to highlight how to cook eggplant, oatmeal risotto to highlight a savory use for instant oatmeal, and zucchini apple ribbon salad to highlight zucchini and apples.
Our Community Kitchen program serves developmentally disabled adults who learn and prepare easy-to-follow recipes in a group setting. The kitchen aims to empower its participants by offering cooking and nutrition education as well as encouraging community-building where participants cook and dine together. For many in our special needs group, this is their first time preparing food from recipes. Participants get to feel the accomplishment of eating something prepared by them, not for them. The community kitchen offers participants an opportunity to work on fine motor kitchen skills including stirring, chopping, peeling, measuring liquids and cracking eggs. Several participants have developed improved knife skills due to their community kitchen participation.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
HIP launched a pilot of its Healthy HIP Packs program in September 2011 serving nine children. The Healthy HIP Packs Program has grown to serve 60 students weekly at three north Seattle elementary schools – Viewlands Elementary, Olympic Hills Elementary, and John Rogers Elementary. HIP is able to leverage its food dollars through in-kind food donations from Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline. Our Healthy HIP Pack Program has been supported to date by the Kelly Foundation of Washington, Bread for the Journey, and Morgan Stanley. One school partner recently shared the following story which illustrates the impact of this program: “After receiving a Healthy HIP Pack for the first time, a student told me, ‘I didn’t eat all of it so we could fill our pantry so that it looks like we have a lot of food.’ I reminded him, ‘you’ll get one every week, so don’t feel bad about eating all of it.’”
In 2012, HIP served over 12,700 meals and greatly expanded its programming to meet the growing hunger-related needs in the Lake City community. HIP added a summer meal program to address childhood hunger when school is out over the summer months. HIP hopes to continue to grow in 2013 with added financial support for our hunger relief and nutrition education programs. Funding will go toward the expansion of our cooking demonstration program to additional locations, development of a curriculum guide for our Community Kitchen for Special Needs Adults to share resources with other programs, and expansion of the Healthy HIP Pack program to serve 120 students weekly in the 2013-14 school year.