Hunger ed week offers solutions

VALLEY — As La Puente’s Hunger Education Week wraps up, it’s time to highlight how the community came together to fight hunger not only in the Valley but worldwide. Hunger Education Week consisted of five events, each meant to educate the community on the reality of hunger in neighborhoods and how they can help fight hunger with neighborhood solutions.

The annual SLV Crop Walk was on Sunday, April 22, at Cole Park in Alamosa and was a chance for the community to come together and walk in solidarity for those around the world who have to walk miles a day just to access food or clean water. Crop Walk had more than 200 “hunger fighters” who participated in the day’s events.  It was a great cross section of the community, with local organizations, churches, and Adams State University students coming out to support the cause. All ages were also able to participate with the youngest being 4 months old and the oldest 85 years old. The Adams State Football Team was the largest group with 60 members. 

Donations were collected with more than $3,000 raised to support global and local hunger relief-efforts and hundreds of pounds of food was collected for the Alamosa Food Bank.

On Tuesday, April 24, La Puente’s Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (V.E.G.I.) held a Garden in a Box Workshop at Boyd Garden. Community members learned how to keep up with their garden boxes and collect supplies for the next growing season. The Garden in a Box program allows local residents to grow their own food with support from V.E.G.I., increasing access to nutritious foods. 

People from all over the Valley came out to learn how to grow their own gardens.  For some, it was there first introduction to the V.E.G.I. program. To learn more about community gardening, Garden Nights are every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. until Sept. 24th at Boyd Community Garden on the corner of State and 9th in Alamosa.

Wednesday, April 25, was Fill the Van Food Drive supporting the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley. Dozens of volunteers spent the day outside City Market and Safeway collecting canned food donations and educating community members about the need for donated food.

The community responded by donating over 1,900 lbs. of food and over $170 to purchase more food.  This haul allowed the food bank to fill two truck beds and the entire Food Bank van. The community came together in a big way. Annually, La Puente’s Food Bank Network depends on 13 tons of donated food from community drives like this event.

Thursday, April 26, was Hunger Advocacy Happy Hour at Squarepeg Brewerks.  Attendees learned about proposals to the Farm Bill which would see a cut in funding for hunger reduction programs, possibly pushing millions off of this much needed resource. Advocates signed letters written to federal elected officials addressing the proposed changes to SNAP and the benefit it offers locally. It was also an opportunity to write postcards to Rep. Donald Valdez and Sen. Larry Crowder inviting them to take a tour of La Puente and see their hunger relief programs in action.

Friday, April 27, Cooking Matters held a Pop-Up tour at the Alamosa Food Bank. Volunteers taught community members how to make healthy choices while shopping on a budget. Hunger is a nutritional issue and learning better eating habits is a key way to address hunger within the community. Participants also received a $10 gift card to City Market.

Hunger Education Week may be over, but there are still things to be done. Hunger still exists and is present in the Valley. Nearly 1 in 4 suffer from food insecurity.

To learn more, contact the La Puente Office of Community Education at 719-587-3499 or email [email protected]