Given the pandemic, we wanted to be able to support the community by connecting people we’ve been in contact with since the F4R project began two years ago and help build a network about the FEW systems in Flagstaff related to the COVID-19 response. We were invited to take part in the Coconino County Safety-Net Services Coalition on the committee focusing on emergency food relief. We continued collaboration with food banks, especially St. Mary’s Food Bank who helps to address many food insecurity needs across northern Arizona.
F4R News Bytes is an interview series with Sean Ryan, F4R, Professional Development Coordinator for the NAU Center for Science Teaching & Learning. This byte was from an interview on 6/17/20.
The principal from Killip Elementary reached out to Flagstaff Family Food Center to ask if they had any available food resources. This came as a surprise to Flagstaff Family Food Center because they work hard to get the word out in the communities about their services. This broadened the conversation, bringing in the food services director from Flagstaff Unified School District and their communication staff. Flagstaff Family Food Center partnered with the school program and information is now provided in Spanish as well as English. This outreach resulted in five to six times as many families accessing their food resources. They are now doing weekly distributions at Killip, Cromer, and Leupp Elementary Schools. They’ve broadened the discussion, focusing on what role schools play in a community and how families know their teachers and principals and trust the school as a center of the community.
These are examples of an alternative or mobile distribution for food banks. Similarly, St. Mary’s has partnered with 53 of the 57 Chapter Houses across the Navajo Nation to run new mobile distribution sites. Thirty-five of those 53 locations are completing the process to become a permanently available distribution site. They’ve had a similar expansion to the Hopi Villages for the Hopi Tribe.
SIDEBAR: F4R volunteers have continued to work in the Community on FEW issues. Our grad student, Andersen Moyer, one of the key collaborators with St. Mary’s Food Bank, has been able to help them see basic visualizations of their data with geospatial information systems (GIS) tools and to use their own data tools to improve how they understand where food is going and where there are gaps in communities.