APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) will create and distribute a handbook - Beyond the Food Drive Strategic Volunteerism to Fight Hunger to enable individuals, organizations, and businesses to make their anti-hunger volunteerism more effective. NYCCAH will print and distribute 1,000 copies of the guide and make it available at no cost to anyone who wants to download it from the NYCCH web site. NYCCAH will also provide follow-up technical assistance via one-on-one phone calls and sites visits, conference calls, webinars, and workshops to enable interested people and entities to learn more about how to implement the best practices detailed in the handbook. NYCCAH will evaluate the success of the project by how many people request hard copies, how many download the guide on the website, and how many utilize technical assistance. NYCCAH will also survey those that requested copies or obtained technical assistance to learn how many people or entities improved their anti-hunger volunteerism.
Strategies highlighted will include:
1. Promoting skills-based volunteerism (such as providing accounting, web design, strategic planning, fundraising, legal, editing, or graphic design services) to build the capacities of food pantries and soup kitchens.
2. Utilizing volunteers to increase participation in government nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program. These efforts are critical because up to a third of eligible SNAP recipients and more than 20 percent of eligible WUC recipients failed to receive these benefits.
3. Engaging students in increasing the use and improving the nutrition of school meals. Given that about two thirds of students who receive school lunches fail to receive school breakfasts, it would be particularly impactful for students to engage in breakfast outreach.
4. Addressing the root causes of hunger by involving citizens in public policy advocacy.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
NYCCAH will begin work in July 2011 and complete the production of the guide by October 2011. They will launch the guide at a press conference in November, 2011, at which time the guide will be distributed. Technical assistance will be ongoing after the announcement throughout the time period or the commitment.
A least 1,000 people and entities will improve their anti-hunger volunteerism practices as a result, thereby providing improved services to at least 5000 low-income Americans.
Nationwide, in 2009, 50 Million Americans (including 18 million American children) lived in households that could not consistently afford enough food. In New York City, 1.4 million residents, including more than 400,000 children, lived in such households. Millions of Americans generously volunteer their time to address the problem, but unfortunately, many such volunteer efforts have only limited impact. Many adults and children support food drives, which are far less efficient and cost-effective than more strategic ways to fight hunger. The manner in which many other people volunteer at feeding charities -infrequently, for just a few hours, or performing only manual tasks-actually does relatively little to end hunger. For example, business executives organizing community service days for their employees or religious or civic groups seeking volunteer opportunities for their members often request that feeding organizations place large groups of highly skilled professional employees together for just a few hours to perform manual labor during prime business hours in just one location, which must be near the corporate or organizational headquarters in the central business district of the city. To redress this problem, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger will help entities understand how it would be much more beneficial to place smaller groups in higher-need (but more distant) neighborhoods in order to use their professional skills to mentor agencies over time on challenging tasks such as bookkeeping or strategic planning, or by helping eligible families access federal nutrition assistance programs, which provide about 20 times the amount of food distributed by charities, despite the reality that many such government programs are highly under-utilized.