As food banks struggle to continue, these CNN characters receive food for those in need

As food banks struggle to continue, these CNN characters receive food for those in need

To ensure that those in need do not stay hungry, two CNN heroes have stepped up their efforts over the past few months.

Cathryn Couch and her non-profit, Ceres Community Project, prepare and deliver a healthy diet for low-income residents facing cancer and other serious illnesses in Northern California. Since 2007, they have distributed more than 665,000 dishes.

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.”

In downtown Dallas, in 2018, CNN Hero Chad Houser operates Café Momentum, The non-profit restaurant provides employment, educational support and career counseling to young people coming out of juvenile prisons.

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.”

In the US more than 30 million children rely on free or subsidized school lunchesWhen schools across the country closed amid Covid-19, many were at risk of starvation.
Chad Hauser turned his non-profit restaurant space into an emergency food distribution center.

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.”

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