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Good Food app to mobilize a community network to end hunger in Pittsburgh

Full eecm garden
East End Cooperative Ministry Garden
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East End Cooperative Ministry Community House
Full eecm garden
East End Cooperative Ministry Garden
Preview eecm garden
Preview community house exterior eecm
Preview eecm garden
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For 47 years, East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) has advanced a mission to create a community of opportunity for people living in or near poverty seeking to overcome socioeconomic barriers, and better their lives.  Understanding that the problems of food insecurity and poverty have persisted, while shifting zip codes over the past few years, we are committed to addressing problems created and worsened by these changes. By removing barriers for individuals and families to access healthy quality food, immediately, we intend to ensure that the members of our community who live far from affordable food choices, are priced out of high-end grocery stores, and are forced to rely on food stamps, convenience stores, gas stations, and fast food chains for most of their meals, aren’t left out of the revitalization that is happening in Pittsburgh.   
Good Food Truck Model EECM will launch a Mobile Food Pantry after finalizing a business plan supported with adequate research and investments. This model program will operate daily to provide vulnerable families and individuals with free healthy food options.  Our multi-pronged approach will result in several prioritized outcomes; among them: 1) we will establish, continuously analyze, and update a satellite food pantry distribution system with pre-planned donation pick-ups and distribution sites; 2) we will provide jobs and job training, 3) we will strengthen the impact of smaller existing pantries by working in partnership with them, 4) we will educate the community in a deliberate dynamic fashion about the benefits of eating good food (fresh produce, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and shelf items low in sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates) and how to grow, store, and prepare good food. The mobile food pantry will be operated by EECM WorkForce, our employment reentry and development arm, which creates job opportunities for individuals who are often overlooked and left out of the workforce. We will fill the positions with community residents, keeping the mobile food pantry even more community based, while providing economic opportunity to impoverished areas. In addition, we will address the pressing issue of transportation by providing a mobile solution to reach more food pantry customers. Significantly, we will develop a Community Gardens network, integrating community-based gardens to enhance produce options, and hire part-time and summer workers. By year two and beyond, we will help congregations, families, agencies and organizations throughout greater Pittsburgh grow their own community gardens and join the EECM Community Garden Network. The “Good Food” truck will function as a project of EECM, with our full support. From our Community House, centered in East Liberty, we will handle staffing, logistics, accounting, food storage and inventory, truck storage and maintenance, insurance, legal compliance, as well as marketing and communications.
Eradicating Hunger – An Insidious Symptom of Poverty Throughout Greater Pittsburgh, thousands of families have to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table. In Allegheny County, approximately 171,000 individuals suffer from food insecurity ─ meaning that they cannot identify where their next meal will come from. Extremely poor, poor, and low-income residents need and deserve support from an agency that is sincerely committed to addressing community-prioritized needs and capable of making a difference. To help restrain this systemic problem, EECM provides Community Nutrition Services (CNS) to support those who are hungry and in need. Each year, we serve 45,000 meals through our free daily lunch to the community and to the residents of our homeless shelter. Each month, we distribute over 20,000 pounds of food to 450 unduplicated families who depend upon EECM’s Food Pantry, open 4 hours a day, five days a week, to provide nutritious food for daily living. CNS clients receive additional case management support from the Food Pantry staff, who ensure that clients have access to the supportive resources they need to build a sustainable life. Clients are encouraged to speak with caseworkers to create an employment and/or housing plan, and utilize EECM’s resources to search for jobs, find housing, or register for GED or college courses.   
Good Food Truck App
East End Cooperative Ministry's Food Truck will function like a Mobile Food Pantry.  Our new app, which can be downloaded to desk-tops, smart phones, and the like, will be developed in partnership with volunteer programmers and barter arrangements. The app will provide a free on-line channel for accessing EECM’s food truck plus additional features to educate people about the power of eating nutritious food. It will enable app users to upload information about donated food available for harvest or pick up from their community or home garden. The app will provide clients and the general public with food truck distribution site times and locations. It will also provide tips on selecting and storing fresh produce, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and food rich in vitamins and minerals, yet low in sugar, sodium and carbohydrates. Other applications will include recipes and demonstrations on how to prepare nutritious affordable meals and the times that farmers’ markets, pantries, and soup kitchens are open, their locations, even menus! In addition, disabled and elderly clients will be able apply to schedule the food truck to deliver groceries right to their door. The Food Truck end users will be cultivated as a source for recommendations of new opportunities and services, and app features. Our clients will be continually encouraged to comment, contribute, and recommend features such as a Food Truck YouTube channel, blog content, a network of food consumer advocacy correspondents, and links to relevant news and documentaries available on the world wide web, television, cable, etc. Why East End Cooperative Ministry? EECM addresses the negative effects of poverty by providing services and programs through four departments centered in the EECM Community House, our 57,000 sq. ft. LEED-certified green building completed in November 2013. 1.     Community Nutrition Services (begun in the 1970s at Peabody High School) manages one of Pittsburgh’s largest food pantries, a daily community lunch, holiday and summer food programs, and meals for shelter residents; 2.     IMPACTS provides temporary shelter and permanent housing to help men and women struggling with poverty, homelessness, recovery, and self-sufficiency; 3.     Children and Youth Services provides developmental, educational and enrichment programming for 1,200 school-age children ages 5 to 16 annually; 4.     EECM WorkForce provides job training, paid employment, and access to the support and benefits that adults committed to escaping the grip of poverty, and re-entering the job market, sorely need. Having established a respected record of nearly 50 years of community engagement, problem-solving, service, and investment in the well-being and development of children, families, seniors, veterans and homeless, EECM is an ideal leader to implement solutions to food insecurity for vulnerable populations. As Pittsburgh changes, EECM has demonstrated the capacity to mobilize a network of 40 member congregations, deploy 350 active volunteers, and adapt the services we provide and the methods we use to increase food security to meet the needs of vulnerable residents. Our tenured staff have been working closely with community stakeholders to assist poor people for decades and several generations of families have benefited from our programming—we are good neighbors; we are family.


Submitted

Nov 30 2016

Organization Organization Type

Nonprofit

Challenge

Technology

Product Name

Good Food App

Product Stage

Concept


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2 Comments

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DJ

11 months ago

I would love to hear more details on this! I'll be checking out the links provided. EECM is a wonderful organization of neighbors helping neighbors, and their focus on work reentry is critical to rebuild the community. When you volunteer with them, you help someone who lives down the street from you. You fall in love with their blend of thoughtful common sense.
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Susan De Morais

10 months ago

A Food Truck will help EECM get closer to the hungry, and it will also encourage the hungry to teat healthier diets and extend invitations to others who need to hear, "You come too."

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