Litchfield County 4-H is pleased to announce plans to hold their Food Insecurity Awareness Forum on Wednesday, March 25, at 7 pm, at the Litchfield Community Center in Litchfield. The forum will feature an educational panel discussion including several local and state experts on the subject of food insecurity in Litchfield County and a call to action for community members to learn how they can help make a difference. The cost for admission is to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the local food bank for local families in need. This event is being co-sponsored by Litchfield County 4-H and the Litchfield Community Center.
Since community service is a large component of the 4-H experience, the 2020 Litchfield County 4-H Theme is Operation Community Impact, focusing on food insecurity in Litchfield County. “When I first brought this idea to the 4-H members, they were very surprised to learn that over 10% of Litchfield County residents are food insecure. They agreed that there is a lack of awareness of the issue in our county and decided they wanted to help do something about it”, according to Bill Davenport, Litchfield County 4-H Educator, UConn Extension. The Litchfield County 4-H officer team came up with an action plan that begins with holding this forum to increase awareness in the county and engage all thirty 4-H clubs in the county to help in some capacity in this effort with the Litchfield County 4-H Fair Association leadership team coordinating and leading the effort. They also plan to work closely with local food banks, food pantries and any other civic groups or organizations who are willing to become involved with this important issue.
The local and state experts serving on the panel include:
- Molly Stadnicki, SNAP & Nutrition Outreach Coordinator at End Hunger Connecticut
- Julie H. Scharnberg, Grants and Program Director, Northwest CT Community Foundation
- Kathy Minck, Site Director for Food Rescue US NWCT
- Deirdre DiCara, FISH (Friends in Service to Humanity, local homeless shelter and food pantry)
- Jaime Foster, Chief Programs Officer, Connecticut Food Bank
- Michael J. Puglisi, Ph.D. RD, UConn Assistant Extension Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Litchfield County 4-H will provide refreshments at the event and several 4-H members will be in attendance to learn from the experience, make some connections and hopefully gain some more ideas on how to help. “Our goal is to fill the room with community members who walk away with an increased awareness and a renewed energy to help us make a difference in our community with this important but often overlooked need”, according to Davenport.
4-H is a national program with six million youth participating in various project areas who learn life skills, supervised by over 500,000 volunteer leaders. Litchfield County has 26 active 4-H clubs with over 400 active members in those clubs. Project areas include but are not limited to beef cattle, canine, crafts, dairy cattle,
dairy goats, equine, community nutrition, food safety, food preparation skills, horticulture, mechanics, oxen, poultry, robotics, sewing, sheep, small animals, STEM, and swine.
The 4-H program is organized into four program areas including Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living and STEM. These themes all overlap throughout the 4-H experience, with emphasis placed on creating well-rounded individuals. 4-H is the youth development program offered through the UConn Extension system. The purpose of UConn as Connecticut’s land grant university is to provide the citizens of Connecticut with educational opportunities through teaching, research and extension programming. For more information about 4-H and how to join, please contact Bill Davenport, Litchfield County Extension 4-H Educator, at email@example.com or at 860-626-6854.