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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.

Related Events:

• 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 chenaultm@emporialibrary.org

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 chenaultm@emporialibrary.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 (jlinabar@emporia.edu), Rebecca Rodriguez Carey (rrodri12@emporia.edu) or Blythe Eddy (beddy@emporia.edu) to learn more about ways you can get involved in and support these efforts.

(8) comments

Aim_High

Hannah,

Good to see you backing down from your position that these volunteers are overpaid bureaucrats. I'll also pretend "OVERFED" was an edgy and funny pun that went over my head just for you. We all know you didn't really mean "OVERPAID".

Hananova

Who backed down - from what position - you imagined?

In any event, overpaid bureaucrats usually do become overfed, as they slowly sink into their $1000 office chairs.

I said part of your problem, from your POV, is that you are overfed, and the Gazette censored that comment.

But I'm not going to try to understand the machinations of a loonie Leftie, such as Burn-the-Rich Sanders, "Alzheimer Joe" Biteme, Hillary "Arab Spring" Clinton or any of their mindless but self-righteous fans.

Aim_High

If you really believe these March to End hunger folks are overpaid with $1K office chairs, that's your problem. Us smart people know better.

Hananova

Is this a joke?

There is no one starving to death in Lyon County.

There are some children who desire but don't always get ice-cream, popcorn and candy before going to bed, is that what is "food insecurity"?

Outrageous that I have to pay taxes for another group of bureaucrats to administer another not-needed program.

Aim_High

"Is this a joke?" No. Why would hungry children be a joke?

"There is no one starving to death in Lyon County. " Nobody ever said anybody was starving to death in Lyon County.

"There are some children who desire but don't always get ice-cream, popcorn and candy before going to bed, is that what is "food insecurity?"" Literally the second sentence in this article says "food insecurity generally refers to a lack of consistent access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food." Ice-cream, popcorn, and candy probably doesn't qualify.

"Outrageous that I have to pay taxes for another group of bureaucrats to administer another not-needed program." Typical Republican response when it comes to any of their tax dollars helping another human being. No compassion or empathy. Saaad.

Hananova

What's your problem with people being upset they have to pay the salaries of

OVERFED do-nothing bureaucrats?

You love the corrupt Obamacare system, too, no doubt. Paying a doctor and SIX medi-crats every time you visit a DOCTOR.

There is no one starving to death in Lyon County, Kansas. Quite the reverse. The problem is obvious to even a blind man, even to a Progressive bigot, even to you, the problem is OVEREATING.

Aim_High

Maybe the Gazette can investigate how much cash these "bureaucrats" as you call them are raking in with their March to End Hunger. After we figure out their salaries, we can make an informed decision if these are really "OVERFED do-nothing bureaucrats."

SnowGypsy

I was glad to see that they are going to offer education in healthy eating. I see the carts at the stores filled with quick fix freezer foods, sweetened cereal, Little Debbies and soda pop which cost much more than healthy foods do although one has to put more effort when providing those foods for their kids. If a family is not feeding their children, CPS needs to get involved and see what the issue is - drugs, alcohol, or families that cannot access food stamps because they are illegally present in the US. Sadly, some children are so addicted to salty/sugary/greasy foods they want nothing else other than that, thus the rate of obesity in Lyon County. (38.5% of the women and 39% for the men) There doesn't seem to be no shortage for alcohol or cigarettes, so maybe there is an issue with some as to what they consider most important. Also, maybe talk about birth control and stop increasing the public assistance for those that continue to have children that they cannot afford to feed. The answer may well be that food assistance should all be like WIC, with only certain foods being allowed, healthy foods, not pop, frozen pizzas, etc. Oh, boo-hoo, shouldn't people being fed by the taxpayers have the same choices as everyone else? Nope! "Beggars can't be choosers."

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