Partnering with area churches and groups to meet emergency needs of families
Describe the need affecting community
Willow, AK has a higher than national average for unemployment. The cost of living is 13% above the national average with the cost of food is 31% above the national average. Limited jobs, money, food and reliability transportation. The cost of taking garbage to the local dump has greatly increased and the borough is working to create local recycle efforts to reduce the amount of waste. But this has to be done in such a way that we do not increase the amount of illegal dumps in the area.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
As stated we are the only pantry in the area. Some folks drive 50 miles round trip to reach us. By combining our efforts with other churches and groups we are providing a coordinated and consistent method to provide food to hungry folks. We are also part of the newly formed Mat Su Borough Food Coalition. We are working with the Willow UMC to create a community garden and with the Willow Garden Club to provide seeds and starter trays for folks to use in their gardens. We provide vouchers to the Food Pantry clients for them to purchase fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market. We have become the agency that partners with Willow Area Community Organization to create and manage the community recycling program.
Describe the primary goal of the project
To serve as a bridge between resources and needs in the Willow, Houston, and Caswell Lake areas with a focus on addressing food insecurity and recycling. We know that families are hungry and need a variety of ways to obtain food. This experience of food insecurity produces stress. We know that residents of the area we serve want to help their neighbors. We will put these two facts together and provide the bridge for that to happen. We will reduce what families spend on waste disposal so that their limited funds can be spent for other family needs. We also hope to reduce the number of illegal trash dumps in the area. We will provide a way in which folks can help each other through volunteering in the many opportunities through the Pantry and recycling programs.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
More people willing to connect with each other through volunteering together. More people not so hungry. More folks seeing their responsibility for conservation and care of the planet.