To ensure that those in need do not stay hungry, two CNN heroes have stepped up their efforts over the past few months.
As the pandemic broke out, it became clear that people with basic medical conditions were at higher risk.
“The Covid epidemic has significantly increased the demand for our services,” said Couch, a 2016 CNN hero. “It’s really important that this population stays home and stay safe.”
To meet demand, Couch says her organization has doubled the number of people it supports. For recipients facing food insecurity, the group has tripled the number of weekly meals it provides.
“The clients we serve are very unstable of a medical nature, vulnerable, many of them live alone. “Many of them have lost carers because of the pandemic,” she said. “This population has the potential for the most complications and mortality if it gets the disease.”
People with Covid-19 are now provided with non-profit food. And the group coordinates with local counties and health centers to serve Medicaid patients who need extra nutritional support.
The food the group prepares is specifically tailored to the client’s nutritional needs, Couch said.
“Everything is made from scratch. We are committed to 100% organic and extracting as many things locally as possible.”
Due to the pandemic, Husser temporarily closed the restaurant and, with the help of program participants, turned the space into an emergency food distribution center.
“We really reoriented the mission by listening to the community,” Husser said. “We received a lot of calls from people asking for help with the specific nutrition of insecure students with food who were dependent on school nutrition for their basic nutritional needs.”
Since March, participants in the Houser program have been putting boxes full of groceries. They donate the boxes to a local school district, which distributes them to needy students.
These efforts also allow Hauser and his team to continue to support young men and women in their program.
“So much that we focus on as an organization is to provide … (a) a stable and consistent support ecosystem,” Husser said. “He also continues to provide income for them. When we have millions of people applying for unemployment, that’s one less problem to deal with.”
The project also gives these young people a way to return to their community.
“They’re doing a great job getting to the plate during this time of crisis,” Husser said. “So many of them went to the schools where they ate. They lived in the neighborhoods where they ate. And that’s a full range of opportunity for them.”
This is an opportunity that ultimately supports the mission.
“Faced with anything, even a global pandemic, it starts at the community level,” Husser said. “It starts with a community that unites around each other. It starts with a community that holds itself responsible and for each other.”