Education and action to combat food insecurity locally is the focus of March to End Hunger, which kicks off Monday.
Food insecurity generally refers to a lack of consistent access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Approximately 13.5 percent of Lyon County residents experienced food insecurity as of 2017. The percentage is even higher for children, with an estimated 19.1 percent of children in Lyon County being food insecure.
The Emporia At the Table, or EAT, Initiative, and its partners will launch the month of activities with an opening reception at 6 p.m. Monday at the Emporia Public Library. The opening reception will include remarks from partners, a poetry reading by Kevin Rabas, chair of Emporia State University's Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism, from his edited anthology "Bards Against Hunger" and more. Refreshments will be provided.
Between March 2 and April 4, "Confronting Food Insecurity," an exhibit about what hunger looks like in the Emporia community, will be on display at the Emporia Public Library. The exhibit features work by ESU students as well as contributions from local organizations. Community members can stop by events throughout the month and check out the exhibit for a chance to win prizes.
Throughout the month, drop off non-perishable donations for local food pantries at event locations, including the Emporia Public Library and William Allen White Library. Donations will go to Emporia High School's Spartan Stop and ESU's Corky's Cupboard.
The EAT Initiative is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort housed at Emporia State University that aims to address food insecurity both on campus and in the Emporia community. EAT's partners in this month of education and action include the Emporia Public Library, Corky's Cupboard, Emporia Farmers Market, Healthier Lyon County, ESU University Libraries and Archives and the ESU Student Wellness Center.
• 6 p.m. Monday - March to End Hunger Opening Reception
Join EAT and its partners to launch the month of activities with remarks and an open house. Refreshments will be provided. Location: Emporia Public Library Large Meeting Room
• Noon and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday - Film Showing and Plate Painting: A Place At The Table
Watch A Place At the Table, a documentary about food insecurity in America, at one of the two free showing times while painting a ceramic plate. Pizza will be provided.
Co-sponsored by the EAT Initiative, Community Hornets, University Libraries and Archives and the Emporia Art Council.
Location: ESU's William Allen White Library
• 5:30 p.m. March 11 - Healthier Choices: Fast Food Edition
Learn from Chef Michael about healthy fast food options.
Registration required: Contact Molly Chenault at 620-340-6451 or email@example.com
Location: Emporia Public Library Large Meeting Room
• Noon - 1 p.m. March 17 - Taste: The Power Smoothie
Join us to sample a St. Patty's Day healthy smoothie and get recipes to make your own at home.
Location: ESU's Center for Student Involvement Lounge
• 5:30 p.m. March 18 - Emporia At the Table: Bilingual Story Time
Join the EAT Initiative for a special story time about food in English and Spanish. This event at the Emporia Public Library is for preschool through 5th grade.
Location: Emporia Public Library Storytime Room
• 5:30 p.m. March 24 - Healthier Choices: Granola and Fruit
Learn how to prepare Chef Michael's World's Best Pecan Granola and its variations and how to cut fresh fruit in a class co-sponsored by the Emporia Public Library and Emporia Farmers Market. The class will also cover nutritional values of fruit and yogurt varieties.
Registration required: contact Molly Chenault at 620-340-6451 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Emporia Public Library Large Meeting Room
5:30 p.m. April 2 - C.H.E.W.
Learn how to cook from scratch, eat healthy on a budget and meal plan from a registered dietician. This event, sponsored by the Student Wellness Center and Corky's Cupboard, will focus specifically on basic cooking skills and shopping on a budget for those transitioning to living off-campus.
Registration required: Call 620-341-5222.
• 1 p.m. April 4 - Film Showing and Panel Discussion: The Biggest Little Farm
Learn about farming and sustainability with this free movie showing and panel discussion with area growers co-sponsored by the Emporia Public Library and Emporia Farmers Market.
Location : Emporia Public Library Large Meeting Room
Here are a few ways to get involved:
• Attend events this month and encourage others to do the same. When you see a promotion for upcoming events, share it with your networks.
• Tell your story. Help reduce stigma and change the narrative about food insecurity by sharing your experiences. Visit the EAT website to learn more.
• Donate. Keep the shelves of local pantries and food assistance programs full by giving nonperishable food items or making a monetary donation to the pantry of your choice. During the month of March, donation boxes are available at the Emporia Public Library and William Allen White Library.
• Volunteer. Local organizations always need your help. Consider helping stock shelves at the Salvation Army, serving food at Abundant Harvest or pack backpacks for Food for Students.
Visit emporia.edu/eat for more details on events and programs. Contact Jasmine Linabary (email@example.com), Rebecca Rodriguez Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Blythe Eddy (email@example.com) to learn more about ways you can get involved in and support these efforts.