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Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much!

Wyoming Hunger Initiative was launched in 2019 with two tenants in mind: one, to never reinvent the wheel and two, to be in all twenty-three Wyoming counties. There are grassroots efforts in every Wyoming county dedicated to reducing hunger and combating food insecurity. Instead, Wyoming Hunger Initiative aims to increase awareness and support for the work of local anti-hunger organizations statewide.

Through the relationships that have been developed across the state specific to food insecurity, Wyoming Hunger Initiative has identified partners in every community. Thanks to a grant from the Hughes Charitable Foundation, Wyoming Hunger Initiative was able to host its fifth Regional Summit in southwest Wyoming recently to bring folks together who are working in this space.

The result? A whole lot of networking, sharing of resources, and collaboration that will lead southwest Wyoming forward together while also producing realistic action items that are already underway.

The event kicked off with a volunteer recognition celebration where anti-hunger organizations in southwest Wyoming nominated a volunteer from their organization to be recognized. Without the countless volunteers across the county, this work wouldn't be possible.

The following volunteers were recognized at this event:

  • All Volunteers, Jackson Cupboard

  • Mary Failoni, Kemmerer Food Bank

  • Erin Gardner, Afton Food Pantry

  • Kayla Grisamer, Lincoln Self Reliance, Inc.

  • Michael Hobby, Alpine Food Bank

  • Julie Huntley, Pinedale Community BakPak Program

  • Pat Kelley, From the Heart Ministries

  • Lani Matthews, Hole Food Rescue

  • Max and Mary Merritt, Afton Friday Food Bags

  • Lynne Myers, The Senior Center of Jackson Hole

  • Randy and Robyn Reedy, Presbyterian Church in Jackson Hole

  • Kay Rossiter, The Lord's Storehouse

  • Diana Simpson, The Pinedale Community Food Basket

  • Nancy Terracciano, Good Samaritan Mission

The venue, Gather on 89, even offered free frozen yogurt for all attendees at the conclusion of the dinner!

Sierra Mitchell, who serves as the Wyoming Hunger Initiative Regional Director for the southwest region, was surprised by Afton Mayor Jeff Jensen as he nominated her as an outstanding volunteer for her dedication to the Afton Food Pantry. Mayor Jensen noted that Sierra "doesn't just provide food for those in need; she also helps community members find ways to serve. Sierra has volunteered thousands of hours to teach the youth and adults within our communities about food insecurity and has provided a true example to us all about what community service should look like."

The next day we got down to business by taking a hard look at what we can do to improve and expand resources for anti-hunger organizations in southeast Wyoming. Together with sixteen different agencies, we identified challenges, brainstormed solutions, and developed a list of realistic action items.

The following anti-hunger organizations were involved with the fifth Wyoming Hunger Initiative Regional Summit in southwest Wyoming.

  • Afton Food Pantry

  • Alpine Food Bank

  • Cent$ible Nutrition Program

  • Community BakPak Program

  • Food Bank of Wyoming

  • From the Heart Ministries

  • Good Samaritan Mission

  • Jackson Cupboard/One22 Resource Center

  • Kemmerer Food Bank

  • Lincoln Self Reliance

  • Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole

  • Pinedale Community Food Bank

  • Senior Center of Jackson Hole

  • Thayne Community Food Bank

  • The Lord's Storehouse

  • Wyoming Department of Education

It is safe to say that this group is "all in" when it comes to fighting food insecurity in Wyoming. We look forward to the continued collaboration and the work that will take place in the coming year thanks to the passion and commitment of these organizations.

Lastly, Wyoming Hunger Initiative team members and regional directors traveled to be part of this event. The passion that you see here is what drives the work that Wyoming Hunger Initiative has done and continues to do. Thank you for joining us!

Photo credit: Carolyn Gordon


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