Meals Partnership Coalition Programs
MPC coordinates a monthly general meal provider meeting to help achieve organizational mission goals, and support the ongoing needs of non-profit meal providers. At each monthly MPC meeting, agencies discuss challenges that they are currently facing, and work collaboratively to overcome those issues. MPC meetings are a mechanism for the sharing of material resources such as food and equipment with one another. Information is also shared with community partners such as Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest. The monthly meeting is also a venue for member agencies to become educated in critical areas related to meal delivery and the importance of nutritional content.
The MPC staff visits member programs throughout the year to better understand their specific organizational needs. This unofficial needs assessment includes service capacity issues, food safety concerns, kitchen management, as well as any organizational development questions. In addition, the MPC Program Manager conducts direct outreach to non-member meal providers to ensure that non-members have the resources necessary to support their programs outside of the MPC support system.
MPC works to end community hunger through direct policy advocacy/analysis and public awareness campaigns. By advocating for increased resources into the meal provider system we are helping organizations and their guests receive the most nutritious emergency food support possible. In addition, by bringing the issue of community hunger to the public's awareness we are helping to build a sustainable and comprehensive emergency food system. During 2011 MPC facilitated nearly $800,000 of new and redistributed resources within the King County meal provider network.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
MPC works within the community to increase the amounts of fresh wholesome foods within meal provider menus. To facilitate this process MPC works with local food distributers, farmers, and venders to help create partnerships between meal providers and these donor groups. Using this model MPC has helped to create partnerships between the Seattle Farmer’s Market Association and several non-profit meal providers. This partnership has resulted in more than 20,000 pounds of fresh produce being donated to meal providers during the 2011 market season. Those 20,000 pounds have equaled more than 40,000 meals with improved nutritional outcomes for vulnerable King County community members.
One of the challenges that MPC currently faces is the ability to meet the growing community demand for meal provider support. This year MPC is expanding membership and conducting outreach to meal providers outside of Seattle in order to ensure that meal providers have the ability to collaborate within different geographic areas. This expansion will strengthen the overall meal provider system, but will take much work to build. The challenge that we face in reaching this goal is the coordination and outreach with limited staff. To address this issue MPC is building organizational revenue, and seeking community volunteers to assist in the development of a more collaborative and expanded coalition.