From the beginning of this initiative, it was clear that there was no singular cause for food insecurity in Mower County and there would be no singular solution. We needed to understand all of the complex facets of the issue as well as all of the resources at hand.

Gaining this understanding required bringing together the volunteers, nonprofit organizers, government agencies and community leaders who have witnessed the causes and consequences of food insecurity first hand. The outpouring of support for this effort has been deeply moving.

The assembling of the coalition reminded us of what is best about America. We came together from our diverse cultures and backgrounds with open hearts and a patchwork of knowledge, skills and resources, with a vision to create something lasting and new. The process of creating the coalition itself was part of the value. In working together, we’ve shared knowledge and fostered partnerships and friendships. This is the creation of that feeling of belonging and shared purpose that people sometimes call community spirit.

We feel excited about the momentum and know that we are still at the beginning of our journey. This newsletter will provide a window into the day-to-day efforts of this coalition and its impactful work. We invite each of you to become a part of this journey with us and help us rally many more to take meaningful action in our community and beyond.

– Jim and Tammy Snee

It’s Official: We Have a New HQ!

Our new space in downtown Austin, shared with Austin Aspires and the United Way of Mower County’s Backpack Program, and with close proximity to various social services, enables us to have an even greater impact in the community and increase our avenues for support.

Getting to Know Our Rural Food Shelves

Over the last two weeks, coalition members visited four local pantries to better understand their services, challenges and customer needs. We presented each pantry with a donation of $2,500 to support their work, made possible by a gift from Hormel Foods.

The visits were coordinated in recognition of Hunger Action Month, and included Southland Faith Community, Grand Meadow Faith Community, LeRoy Food Shelf, and the Racine United Methodist Church.

Our Community Assessment Report Receives Award

The Hometown Food Security Community Assessment report, published earlier in the year, secured a spot as a winner in the 10th season of the Web Excellence Awards. With over 15,000 entries from more than 26 countries, this was an outstanding honor and a testament to the work the team put into this project.