A Proposal for a Better Farmville

It has been said by many in the past that the youth are the ones who have the most power to create change in this world. When it comes to poverty and hunger, many of us students are extremely uneducated, failing to see what is right in front of our eyes. As students of Longwood University, we are told from the first day of orientation that Longwood is going to provide us with the tools and skills to become productive citizen leaders, promoting change and growth in this world. While many of us students will not call Farmville home forever, four years of our lives are spent living, working, learning, and loving in this place. It is important to want to make a difference in this town and make it a better place for the next generation of students and residents of Farmville. So how can we do that? What changes and impacts can we make right now while we are still in school?

Although over four thousand students call Farmville home, it is merely a temporary one, a stepping stone from which to jump to other perhaps larger places throughout our country. Many Longwood University students are extremely likely to get a job within just six months of graduation, and most will probably go on to live decently comfortable lives. While not every student of Longwood can say that they live a completely privileged life, the majority of them can say that their living situation in Farmville is not an impoverished one. But what about the more permanent residents of Farmville? With Longwood being such a large, successful, and influential entity in Farmville, it’s hard for many to notice the real economic hardships this town is weathering just beneath the surface. So how can we as students get educated about hunger and poverty in this town, and what can we do to help?

The U.S Census Bureau estimates that as of 2010, the poverty rate in Farmville was around 34% and growing. With a population of a little over eight thousand, that percentage is not something to be taken lightly. Several small businesses have been put under due to an increase of chain restaurants and businesses such as Wal-Mart. Many residents in just the past four years have seen businesses come and go, or have heard rumors of restaurants that later decided not to settle down in Farmville.

I propose that a campus wide student run charity organization be started. It’s fairly easy to start a “club” on campus; all you need are enough people showing interest in membership and a faculty advisor. This organization would use many different mediums to appeal to all of the different facets of students that populate Longwood’s campus in order to give back to the Farmville community and take real action against hunger and poverty in this town.

Controlling Exigency

While many aspects of Longwood are self-contained, it depends on the town of Farmville as much as the town of Farmville depends on Longwood. Without participation from local businesses and organizations, many of Longwood’s events and activities wouldn’t even exist. If the economy in Farmville fails, it affects Longwood gravely. No matter how good a school may be, no parent wants to send their child to a school in a ghost town. As future citizen leaders, we as students should make it our responsibility to become educated about families and individuals in need here in Farmville.

Genre

The on campus organization that I am proposing will take on many responsibilities at Longwood. Its mission first and foremost will be to educate fellow students about hunger and poverty in Farmville. A website, Facebook page, and weekly blog will be created, frequently posting facts and figures about hunger in Farmville. Events will be held where guest speakers will talk to students about the economy in Farmville and propose ways that we can help. The organization will not only educate, however, it will also make plans to actually make a difference in this town and help as many people as possible. By working with varying departments/organizations on campus such as the theatre, music/radio, science, and math, they will organize different events that will appeal to all types of students. These events will not necessarily have to be centered around hunger or poverty, but will ideally charge a small admission fee that will later be donated to FACES or other local charities. At each event, there will be a booth set up to receive more information about hunger in Farmville, ways to help, and an opportunity to donate food, money, or other goods.

Purpose

The purpose of this organization will be both to inform and to persuade. By providing students with adequate education on the subject of hunger and by showing students easy and accessible ways to get involved, I hope to persuade students from all majors and walks of life to join.

Constraints (Ethos and Logos)

The ethos of this organization will be proven through the presentation of information. Well designed posters, flyers, and websites will make the organization appear legitimate and not slapped together last minute. By calling in local politicians and people who have conducted studies on this issue, students will be more likely to listen than if another student simply got up and started talking. Logos will be used to educate fellow students. The basis of this organization is education, so facts and figures will be extremely necessary to communicate with others. A well informed and planned out combination of logos and ethos is the key to drawing attention to this very important local issue.

While this organization is simply in a hypothetical stage, it could easily be accomplished if enough students were willing to act. The key to creating change is to first be informed, and with this proposal I would hope to inform the students of Longwood about the community that surrounds us. It is important for us to try to make our temporary home a better place for not only Longwood, but for the entire population of Farmville.

RESOURCES
“U.S Census Bureau” American FactFinder. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. .
“U.S Census Bureau .” American FactFinder. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. .
 “Longwood University- Farmville, Virginia: Details, Students, Expenses.”Www.findthebest.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. .

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Hunger Through the Eyes of a Student: A Photoset

Walk 2 Campus apartment construction– Living off campus can be fun but the high rent prices in Farmville probably leaves the average student scrounging to make ends meet.

The Dining Hall meal plan prices for students– this will keep hungry students full, no doubt, but students that live off campus may not be able to afford rent and a meal plan.

The average student refrigerator. That’s not going to feed many people!

Many students turn to “cheap and easy” when trying to feed themselves. While cheap, this food holds no nutritional value and while leave you feeling hungrier than before.

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Hunger in Leesburg

 

The Loudoun Interfaith Relief (LIR) is a county food pantry.  Leesburg does not have its very own food pantry.  The mission of Loudoun Interfaith Relief is to provide emergency assistance to those in need to any family living in Loudoun County.  The LIR has been serving the community for 20 plus years now and is well respected in the community.  I had trouble finding other food banks in the area and this is because the LIR has consolidated the fight for hugner.

I noticed in the back door the hours of the food pantry.  My camera is not the best so here are the hours.  Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat from 10:00 A.M. until 12:45 P.M.  They also distribute food Tue and Thur evenings by appointment.  After reading other blogs from other areas in Virginia I noticed food banks and pantries were not open, but 2 or three days.  It takes alot for a group to covers such a vast amount of people can serve the public nearly everyday of the week.

 

This is one of the vans from Loudoun Interfaith Relief. There were about 3 vans, possibly more. Since the LIR covers the whole county, they are going to need several vans to reach the rest of the county.  I was very impressed with the vans.  All the vans had airconditioner/cooling unit to keep the food at the right temperature.

The location of the LIR would make anyone scratch their head.  They are located in a business district.  Their locations is actually right next to the county’s voting office.  I have been to the voting office at least three times and never and I mean NEVER seen the LIR.  This business district is several miles away from the city center.  Keep in mind that this food bank is to serve all of Loudoun County and not just the town of Leesburg.  Naturally I wondered how anyone was able to get to the LIR.  As soon as this question came to me a Leesburg bus drove right around the corner.  The Leesburg transit is free for leesburg residents.  I have never seen a Leesburg bus this far out.  The city of Leesburg made sure this food bank would be accessible to their residents.  I tried to see if other cities provide transportation to this food bank.  I could not find anything, but I would have to assume this is where the vans come in handy.

Even though I am oblivious of my surroundings, I did notice that the shelves were fully stocked with lots of food.  The holidays are a busy time for food banks so it was no surprize the shelves were full.  Here is a Facebook post from the LIR on their donations from the holidays.

“Loudoun Interfaith Relief would like thank all of our wonderful area grocery stores, faith-based organizations, farmers, businesses, schools, scout troops, families, Facebook friends and anyone who has donated to a food drive or made a monetary gift to help us over the holidays.

We could never have done it without all of your support. Because of your selflessness, hundreds of children have gone to bed on a full stomach and struggling families all throughout our community have had their lives brightened by your generosity. You are a constant reminder that when people work together, it is possible to make the world and our community a better place.”

 

 

 

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One Canned Food=One Ticket

Everyone has their own routines and their own ways of seeing things. If we get in a daily habit of waking up, going to work/school, going home and making dinner and then going to bed, are we ever going to see the importance of helping out others and giving back? In my community, there is a lack of recognition of the hungry. Hunger is present, but is not known to be a problem. So how do we bring awareness to the problem? How do we get people of all ages to help out?

The estimated median household income for Lynchburg residents is $21,016 below the Virginia median household income (City-data, 2012). The unemployment rate for Lynchburg is 7.7% which is a negative percent due to the Virginia unemployment rate being 5.8% (City-data, 2012). City data shows that since the year 2000, the unemployment rate has gone increasingly up with minimal dips leaving us little hope that the job market within Lynchburg is going to improve. This has led to more families living in poverty, with the percent landing at 21.4% within Lynchburg (City-data, 2012). With more and more families living in poverty each year, it is causing hunger within families in this community. More and more families have to choose between food and heat this winter, and I believe there is something that this community can do to help out.

With Lynchburg having 3 high schools and a minor league baseball team, I believe there is a way to get these younger generations to help out, teaching them the importance of helping those in need while they are young. I am proposing that whenever there is a big game of any sport going on in these high school and at the Hillcats stadium, instead of paying to enter the game, they have to bring a canned food of their choice. With at least a 1,000 people attending high school football games and even more for the Hillcats baseball games, that is a 1000 canned foods that can be donated to the seven food pantries located in Lynchburg, Virginia (Food pantries, 2012).

With the HillCats minor league baseball team already supporting their community for autism awareness, cancer, local churchs, high-achieving students, and learning centers, I believe that trying to add a fundraising night for local food pantries would be a great idea (Lynchburg Hillcats, 2012). I would contact Zach Willis who is head of their community events and would write him a letter asking to meet with him personally to give him my proposal. The purpose of the letter would be to persuade him to meet with me, and for the meeting I would inform him of the reality of hunger within Lynchburg and explain the importance of helping out. The idea of having people pay with canned goods instead of money is a great, easy way to hold people accountable to helping out and giving back while bringing awareness to the problem of hunger. If they can pay for a ticket, why can’t they pay for a canned food to be donated to those in need?

There will be many constraints that will arise and questions to be answered. I, as the rhetor will use logos. I believe this proposal has a lot of logic to it. The Hillcats already support some organizations within the community (Lynchburg Hillcats, 2012). With this, it provides me with a great starting point because it has already been done; Some holes have already been filled. With the “brain” already being used with the tying of facts about Lynchburg, Virginia’s population in reference to hunger, I can then use another tool such as pathos to bring emotion into my argument. Any child or family that is hungry is such a sad thing to hear about and can really be used to get their “heart” involved (Heinrichs, 2012).

High-schools and their students are an important audience to target as well. It is important that our younger generations learn about their community and ways to give back at an early age. Knowing how easy it is to make a difference is an important aspect that can be learned through my proposal. For this to happen at high school games, there would have to be a meeting with the Athletics director and the Principal of each of the 3 high schools in Lynchburg. There would also have to be a proposal given to a committee board such as the school board who handles money and sports. I would start by bringing awareness to hunger within our community and informing them on the problem. It would be a great idea to take a survey of the kids at the schools to figure out how many of them are in need of food and sometimes wonder where their next meal is coming from. By describing the results, I will hopefully persuade them to listen and give support. If there is a reasonable percent of students who are in need, that covers all three argumentative tools used by Heinrichs (p.40), logos, ethos, and pathos. Their “brain, gut, and heart” will be touched and the essence of effective persuasion is formed. Logic is given by the idea of bringing one can of food to the chosen game to get in. With that, you have a certain amount of students of all ages, and their parents who are now aware of the problem within their community and realize how easy it is to give back. In Lynchburg, there are almost a total of 1,000 people at each home game. In one night, they can donate 142 cans of food to each of the seven food Pantries in Lynchburg.

Using the plan that I have put together in my proposal, I believe a difference can be made. Not only are we teaching the younger generations the importance of getting involved, but we are allowing the parents to get involved as well and encouraging them to set the example. We are also bringing awareness to Lynchburg, Virginia which I believe is the main reason the food pantries are struggling to support the hungry (Food Pantries, 2012). Bringing the community together and teaching all generations the importance of helping out their neighbors allows for growth and success. Not only is this a plan that can actually be done, but it can be done in a timely manner. While trying to form an idea that may take a while to complete, like trying to get rid of hunger all together in Lynchburg, my proposal allows for immediate help to the food pantries which is something they are in desperte need of. These families who are hungry will be hungry until they get help so I believe this is a strong proposal that will allow for immediate results.

 

Works Cited:

1.      1. Food Pantries (2012). Lynchburg virginia: Food pantries. Foodpantries.org

2.     2.  Heinrichs, J. (2012). Thank you for arguing. (1st ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers          Press.

3.    3.   Lynchburg Hillcats (2012). Minor league baseball: Lynchburg hillcats.

     4. Lynchburg Virginia (2012). Onboard informatics: Lynchburg virginia.
City-data.com

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Education and Reformation: Ending Hunger in Small Town Communities

I. Proposition
The problem with hunger is that many people are not educated on how many people hunger effects, how hunger is increasingly affecting more and more people, and how to work on ending hunger, locally and worldwide. When one actually thinks about how many people are affected by hunger, thinking about actually ending the issue can seem incredibly overwhelming, but every problem has a solution.

In 2011 alone FACES, an emergency food bank in Farmville, VA, served about 532 families a week (FACES 2011 Annual Report). Emergency food systems are only meant for temporary use and many emergency systems are now having trouble feeding the amount on reoccurring families that they see each week. To solve this problem we must ask ourselves: how could people be encouraged to use emergency food banks less without taking away their only means for food? To end hunger in my area, Farmville, I believe it would it would take the combined efforts of educating citizens on smart shopping and job searching/interview tips for long term results and success.

II. The Rhetorical Situation by Audience: The Texts and the Proof
a. Controlling Exigency: Farmville’s unemployment rate is around 8.10% (bestplaces.net) and I believe the unemployment rate directly correlates to the high number of people using emergency food sources, like FACES, in Farmville. The high prices of healthy food also contribute to the high number of people using emergency food sources because low income jobs do not allow for people make ends meet and keep food on the table at all times (feedingamerica.org).

b. Genre: A meeting where town leaders and presidents of influential organizations (like the YMCA) would be the best way to discuss the issues at hand and work together to think of innovative ways to solve hunger in Farmville.

c. Purpose: The first meeting would take place to discuss ways that town leaders and civic leaders to get together and educate Farmville citizens on smart shopping and job searching/interview tips. The YMCA would be a wonderful place to host workshops for Farmville civilians. People hosting the workshops could be volunteers, like the soccer mom who is great at shopping with coupons, or someone from Longwood that works in the Career and Academic Advising Center that knows all the best tips and tricks for interviewing successfully. After the first meeting where ideas are discusses and thrown around, people could start looking for concrete places to hold the workshops, people to host the workshops, dates, and marketing of the events.

d. Constraints: The audience for this meeting was chosen because they have pull in the community and in organizations that could help get the workshops started. People in these positions are already probably very familiar with the issue of hunger in Farmville and would be more willing to do whatever it took to end hunger. These people have also probably considered others ways to end hunger in Farmville in the past, so I need to make sure that education and encouragement from the community is the best way to go. I would start off with statistics about hunger and unemployment in the town. These numbers should make some kind of impact on my audience. I would then show pictures of Farmville, people volunteering at FACES, people being served at FACES, and different organizations in town that exist to serve and better the community. This will appeal to the emotions of my audience, and by showing different buildings where the workshops could take place, would also help appeal to their logic. It would also be my job, as presenter, to give examples of ideas for the workshops and how we would market the idea of the workshops to the community. FACES would be a great organization to help with the workshops and market the workshops.

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors would be the best people to approach with this presentation. These people work with the food banks and will have the best understanding of what must be done to erase hunger in Farmville. As mentioned earlier, I would also invite influential people from FACES, Longwood, and other organizations that serve the community to sit in on the meeting, if possible, to hear my speech and begin collaborating ideas.

III. Works Cited

Economy in farmville, virginia. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.bestplaces.net/economy/city/virginia/farmville
Feeding america. In (2012). feedingamerica.org. Retrieved from http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts.aspx

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Hunger: How to Fight the Illness

“Anyone who works hard and plays by the rules should not live in poverty.” Committee on Education and the Workforce

My Proposition

Hunger is like an illness.  There are two ways to alleviate it: treat the symptoms or treat the cause. The symptoms of hunger (like loss of concentration, stomach pains, fatigue, and moodiness) are easily explained away to others but plainly felt by those affected.  The causes of hunger are more difficult to identify.  Bread for the World says it best: “In the United States, hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food. […] The supermarket store shelves are stocked to the ceiling. But none of this matters if customers have no money in their pockets. Poverty spoils every meal,” (www.bread.org).  For most illnesses, wouldn’t you treat the cause along with the symptoms?  Food banks, food stamps, and other charities and handouts are ways to treat the symptoms of hunger.  The person or family will eat today, but the hunger will return tomorrow.  According to the USDA, the monthly cost of food for a family of four eating on a “low-cost” plan was $821 with an estimated $128 in food stamps benefits for the month, (www.usda.gov).  Assume this same four person family includes two parents working full time at minimum wage ($7.25/hr.).  Their monthly income after taxes would be about $1,970, ($2,320 before taxes).  Their food bill would make up about 35% of their monthly income. According to CityData, the average rent in Farmville is about $650 per month, or about another 33% of their income. After food and rent, there is only about $630 to cover their bills, emergencies, doctor visits, car maintenance, or other unexpected expenditures.  To treat the cause of hunger, we would need to change the minimum wage.

Addressing Representative Hurt and Senators Webb and Warner

July 26, 2012, Senator Tom Harkin introduced the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012” to the Senate, after which it was referred to a Committee and that, so far, was the last major action taken, (thomas.loc.gov).  This bill proposes a raise in the minimum wage to $9.80 over two years with an annual adjustment to inflation.  In Farmville, we are represented in Congress by Representative Robert Hurt and Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner.  As with any legislation, they are more likely to support a bill that their constituents feel strongly about.  In my government class in high school, my teacher once told us, “If you don’t remember anything else from my class, know that the best way to get anything done in the government is to write a letter.”  So I would show my support in a letter to each of the district representatives in Congress.

http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/facts/entry/amount-with-inflation/

Inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage over time.

I believe the best way to make a political argument is logic.  My letter would point out that the minimum wage in 1968 of $1.60 is higher than today’s minimum wage when inflation is taken into account.  The inflation adjusted amount of the original minimum wage would be $10.58.  It would emphasize the lack of sufficiency in the minimum wage.  A family of four with only $630 to cover bills and necessities after food and rent is a family that will not be able to pay all of their bills.  Using my same family as before, their annual income at minimum wage jumps from barely $30,000 to about $40,770 with a minimum wage at $9.80.  Their monthly income (after taxes) goes up to $2,800. In Virginia, 1.7 million workers are working at or below the minimum wage, (www.bls.gov).  That’s 1.7 million workers that are struggling to make ends meet.  “The minimum wage is about valuing and respecting work,” (Committee on Education).  How can the minimum wage be about valuing or respecting work if the workers working at this rate are considered the working poor and cannot afford to feed their family?  As I and other constituents illustrate the urgency of raising the minimum wage, it will become more important to them and to Congress in general.

 

 

Works Cited

 

“23901 Zip Code Detailed Profile.” 23901 Zip Code (Farmville, Virginia) Profile. City Data, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.

“Causes of Hunger in the U.S.” Bread for the World. Bread for the World, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2013.

 

Cost of Food November 2012. USDA, n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2013.

“Democrats -Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives.” Democrats -Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives. House of Representatives, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013. <http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/>.

“United States Department of Labor.” United States Department of Labor. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013. <http://www.dol.gov/>.

“U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2013. <http://www.bls.gov/>.

 

 

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Child Hunger Occurring After School

I. Children Going Hungry Should NOT be an Issue that is Ignored

People do not choose to go hungry or to be unable to feed their children a nutritious meal every day. In some households this is not an option. “In some cases grandmas are going without their medication or food for themselves, just to feed their grandchildren” (Silverberg). “One in five kids in America struggle with hunger…it is a national crisis that not only threatens our nation’s future” but also our children’s (No Kid Hungry). This is an issue that many people need to come together and help fight against. What is really shocking is that “17 million children are living in food-insecure households” (Feeding America). Children receiving food from food banks don’t have healthiest diet, many food banks focus on filling items rather than nutritious items when there are so many people they need to feed. The lack of nutrition affects them mentally and behaviorally (Feeding America). Children that suffer from food insecurity “are more likely to experience irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating compared to other children which can make performing in school very difficult” (Feeding America). It is not the child’s fault or their guardian’s but there is a solution which can be found through the community. The children are our future so we have to make sure they will have one.

There are programs in schools that provide students with free lunches or discounted meals, but where do they get food after school and during the weekends? There is a program called the Power Pack program, developed by Food for Others, in Fairfax County which helps with this predicament. This is designed to provide elementary and middle school aged children with food that is satisfying to their taste, is easy to prepare themselves, and will hopefully last them the whole weekend (Food for Others). Even though this program does make an impact in the Fairfax County area, what happens to the children who do not live in this county? Where do they turn to for help? This is for the community to answer. It is the community that provides for these children that do not have enough food.  The community’s actions will determine the children’s futures. If enough community members become aware of the fact that so many children are going hungry it could help the program go into effect. It is the community’s choice whether these children receive help or not.

II. Meeting with IIryong Moon: Chairman, At-Large, Fairfax County School Board; Pat Hynes: Vice Chairman; and district members

These people are known in the community for their influence in the school systems. It is important to set up a meeting with these members to implement some sort of assistance to children who question whether they will have food over the weekend.

Before meeting with these individuals I would have my research planned out and sorted accordingly. My research would entail demographics in the area of children going hungry, a strategy on how to compose the bags of food, and facts about childhood hunger. I would then compose a PowerPoint with the necessary information along with handouts, to be given after introducing myself, to allow my audience to follow my presentation. I would dress professionally to ensure I will be taken seriously. The concentration of my PowerPoint will be the necessity of allocating food items to the students already on the free lunch and reduced price lunch programs. In the PowerPoint I will give the members facts about childhood hunger as explained in my proposition with the recommendation to provide food for after school hours. I will also combine my facts with photos of children that have been forced into this situation. My presentation will contain a combination of facts dealing with childhood hunger, ways it can be prevented, and the ideas I want to set forth to advance the change in schools today.

I think it is important to let the members know that childhood hunger is an issue that should be addressed in school in an appropriate manner and also sooner rather than later. I want the members to know that it is not the child’s fault they are in this predicament or their families, and it is the community’s responsibility to help them.

In the PowerPoint I want to show items that I think should be included in bags created for this program extension. I want to focus on keeping some of the items on the nutritious side since many food banks do not have the option of cutting out high sodium and sugars in their handouts. The bags should contain food that is easily prepared and accessible for a child if they are hungry. The items in the bags should focus on making a child full, tasting good, and being nutritious to some extent.

When preparing to end the presentation I would like to bring the photos showed throughout the PowerPoint to full screen, which will give more of an effect on the problem of hunger. I want the members to know that hunger is not a problem but an obstacle that people need help to overcome. In order to overcome such an issue people need to get involved. Throughout my presentation I will continually mention that help is needed and that hunger is something that people should not face alone.

Works Cited

Feeding America. “Hunger in America.” Feeding America: Hunger in America. Feeding America, 2013. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.

Food for Others. “Power Pack Program.” Food for Others: Feeding Families, Nourishing Lives. Food for Others, n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2013.

No Kid Hungry. “The Problem: The Crisis of Child Hunger.” No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength. No Kid Hungry, 2012. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.

Silverberg, Hank. “Region-Wide Food Banks Are ‘Stretched to the Limit’” WTOP-DC News. WTOP, 25 Dec. 2012. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.

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Hunger in Our Schools: Listen to Their Stomachs Growl

I.  Be Aware of Our Youth’s Food Situation!

Hanover, Virginia, may seem like a rather middle- to high-income area; however, 5.8 percent of the population was unemployed as of 20112.  The per capita income and median household income of Hanover County in 2008 was $43,426 and $94,025, respectively1.  The median household income in 2008 of Virginia was only $85,6421; this can be a little deceiving to the perspective of poverty in the county.

Hanover County public schools offer a program for these hungry children.  The “Free and Reduced Price Meal Program” is a great way for children to get a nutritious meal when they come to school.  “Children are eligible for free meals, regardless of income, if they are members of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)”3.  However, children are only eligible for free or reduced price meals if “they are a foster child who is the legal responsibility of the welfare agency or court (based on the child’s income), or are a member of a household participating in WIC (Women, Infants, Children) (based on household income)”3.  These programs are offered to children from kindergarten to twelfth grade, however, according to my research, there are very few high school students that are eligible to receive this aid.

At no point should a child, or a teenager, be told that he or she cannot eat lunch, and sadly this happens every day.  In Hanover, only 17.2 percent of children are receiving free or reduced price lunches6.  I propose that Hanover County provides free healthy and nutritious lunches for all of the children.

II.  Meeting with Jamelle Wilson, School Superintendent; and meeting with Hanover County School Board (2012-2013) – Ann F. Hagan Gladstone, Chair; Glenn T. Millican, Jr., Vice Chair; John F. Axselle III, Earl J. Hunter, Jr., Robert L. Hundley, Jr., Henry (Hank) C. Lowry, Jr., and Robert L. Wood

I believe by holding a meeting and speaking directly to the Hanover County School Board and to the superintendent that this will achieve the fastest response to the issue at hand.  It is fantastic that the free and reduced price lunch plan is available for young children and teens, but now is the time to incorporate everyone.

To achieve this, I would begin with appealing to the character, or ethos, of the school board and superintendent.  For example, I would begin by saying, “The good people of Hanover do not let our own starve, especially our children.  There are innocent children and teenagers that cannot feed themselves, and it is not their fault.”  Following this, I would post an image via PowerPoint of the hungry children in the area.

After catching the attention of the school board and the superintendent, I would present the cold, hard facts about the unemployment rate, poverty rate, amount of children receiving help from the current program, and the amount that could be helped if it is extended to the entire school population.  To gain perspective on how many students would benefit from this program, I would first look at the amount already receiving aid; I would then present a survey to the parents of the entire student population in the county.  Even though many of these surveys may not be returned, the surveys that are would be beneficial to our understanding.  This data would be used to present to the board and superintendent.

More pictures of hungry children, and the good, healthy, foods that are a part of the Hanover County school system would be used at the end of the PowerPoint to remind the school board and the superintendent that our students are not just facts and figures, that there are real people that are hungry and are being denied lunch.

I would conclude the meeting with simply stating, “This is where our tax dollars should be going, to our children.”  This ending statement would not be said with a tone of begging, but with a slight tone of disinterest as if to say, “these are the facts, this is what we should do, this is the best idea, take it or leave it.”

Eventually, the goal of this project is to expand the idea throughout Virginia, and with some luck, the whole nation.  However, by focusing directly on one county, we can use the hopeful success of the expanded program as an example to the rest of Virginia.  Hopefully, if we all pull together, we can make this idea a reality.

III. Works Cited

  1. Demographics. Hanover County Economic Development. 2012. Available at: http://www.hanovervirginia.com/data-downloads/demographics/.
  2. FRED Economic Data. Economic Research: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 2011. Available at: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ graph/?s[1][id]=VAHANO6URN.
  3. Free and Reduced Price Meal Program. Hanover County Public Schools. 2012. Available at: http://hcps.us/finance/food/default.htm.
  4. Hanover County School Board. 2012. Available at: http://www.hcps.us/SchoolBoard/schoolboard_members.htm.
  5. School Board – Hanover County. Boards-Commissions and Committees. Hanover County. 2012. Available at: http://www.co.hanover.va.us/ board/AppointedCommittees/SchoolBoard.htm.
  6. Students Approved for Free or Reduced Price School Lunch (Percent). Data Center: Kids Count. 2012. Available at: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/Rankings.aspx?state=VA&ind=3239.
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Hunger in Farmville: Starting Discussions and Ensuring the Future

Hunger in Farmville: Starting Discussions and Ensuring the Future

I.     Proposition    

Hunger is a symptom of a much larger and complex problem.  However large it may be, it is not insurmountable.  The problem plaguing the emergency food system is the length of time that people use them. A recent study from Feeding America.org shows that “More than one third of all people visiting food pantries (36 percent) report having used a food pantry at least every month within the past year.  These clients also report they have used a food pantry for more than 28 consecutive months, on average.”  (Fraser, R., FeedingAmerica.org, 2011)  So we know they are overused.  The real question here is, “why?”

According to the 2012 biennial Hunger Factors Assessment completed in fall 2012 by the Oregon Food Bank Network of Regional Food Banks, long-term unemployment is a large contributing factor to the length of time families utilize these resources.  What is extremely interesting about this study is that they went right to the source and asked these families what circumstances brought them to the food pantry.  Half of those surveyed responded that high food costs were the culprit, while more than half stated they ran out of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits. Other major responses were high gas and health care expenses, long-term unemployment, and low paying wages. (OregonFoodBank.org, 2012).  Shtf.com reports  that  “since December 2007, or the start of the Great Depression ver. 2.0, the number of jobs lost is 4.5 million, while those added to food stamps and disability rolls, has increased by a unprecedented 21 million” (Slavo, M., SHTF.com, 2012).

So we’ve found a definitive correlation, now what?   The government is obviously dumbfounded on how to create work for these millions of people.  However, Farmville doesn’t have a population of millions.  According to the 2011 census, its population is at 8,207. Of this population, the unemployment rate is 8.1% (665 people) in September 2012 when the national average was 7.8%.  (Homefacts.com, 2012).  The last reported statistic for persons living below poverty level in Farmville was in 2011 and was a staggering 34.6% (2,840 people). (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2011).  Let’s work to decrease these numbers and increase the prosperity of Farmville.

II.    Rhetorical Situation by Audience:  The Texts and the Proof

 Note: I feel that while I am speaking to different agencies, they need to work as a whole so the elements of argument to each of them will be the same to promote unity.


  1. Controlling Exigency: The high unemployment rate in Farmville is directly correlated to the number of residents utilizing the emergency food sources.  This can be exemplified with statistics of the rising unemployment rate through the years with Census Bureau Statistics and the increase in the number of families served throughout the last several years at F.A.C.E.S.
  2. Genre:  A meeting involving the following town leaders would be the most effective way to draw attention to this problem and foster solutions for the town as a whole.
  3. Purpose:  The initial meeting would be to inform them of the problem and promote discussion and ideas for further actions.  I also think as a researcher of this issue, it is my job to do a little legwork to help them get started in the right direction. *This is displayed under each “audience” to promote discussion within their area.
  4. Constraints: The audience for this meeting has been specifically chosen due to their influence in the town or experience with the town’s hunger issues so they are very likely aware that this problem exists.  They are not at fault but they were asked to the meeting because of their ability as community leaders to assist in being part of the solution.  Since this issue is not new and may have frustrated this audience before, I need to ensure a positive attitude that change can be made with small steps so it is not overwhelming. Starting with a slideshow of our beautiful town and residents enjoying the finer things that our town as to offer showing that Farmville is a great place to be and there is pride in living there.  The slideshow will then taper to more somber scenes of houses in disrepair with statistics of the town’s poverty population percentage, unemployment rates, and F.A.C.E.S food orders.  Emotion pairs with logic as they process the images and ponder solutions.   I speak with pride for the town in which I live to make it a better place for future generations and any hint of judgment or criticisms for previous efforts should be absent.   As the presenter is will be my job to control the tone and direct the energy in the room to positivity and goodwill.

   i.      Farmville Town Council Members & Town Manager

  1. Each of you is assigned to one of the 5 wards that Farmville is divided into.   Reach out to vocal community leaders within your ward as to the problems of hunger and unemployment within the ward.  How many constituents in each ward utilize emergency food services and/or are living below the poverty level?  Identify your ward’s level of need for assistance on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the worst).

  ii.      F.A.C.E.S. & Meals on Wheels Directors

  1. I would offer Poppendieck’s suggestion that the town utilize the volunteers from F.A.C.E.S. and Meals on Wheels to evaluate or reflect on their experiences and offer suggestions on how the town can help making these resources less “permanent” for town residents.  Bring those suggestions to the next meeting so we can pick one or two to start brainstorming.

   iii.      Stanley Ragland, Manager of the Virginia Employment Commission local office

  1. You are on the front lines working with the unemployed of Farmville. What trends are you seeing and what are the initial barriers that the town needs to overcome to start towards progression of a decrease in the unemployment in this wonderful community?  I would ask that you and your staff reflect and offer a few suggestions to the town for creating employment for members of this community.

III.    Conclusion

After the initial meeting of “discovery” I would recommend to the group that an End Hunger in Farmville Task Force be implemented with many of these individuals being asked to participate on the Task Force.  Monthly meetings would be recommended to field ideas and create a timeline and goals to show progression towards the end goal.  Collaboration and cooperation betwixt the town governing bodies and the local assistance programs is critical to ensure efforts are being run within town policies.

To end this meeting I would reference a quote in Poppendieck’s Sweet Charity where the Los Angeles FEMA director, Gene Boutillier stating that he believes social progress could be made by promoting a system to “decrease social distance between the classes…” (Poppendieck, p. 310).  Encourage those present to imagine your elderly mother, your daughter who is out of work with kids standing in line at F.A.C.E.S. waiting for their next meal and depending on community volunteers to ensure their families eat for a few days.  Imagine going without food yourself so your children won’t go hungry.  It is real.  It happens to people just like you and me.  Finding a solution involves helping people get back on their feet and become contributing members of this community.

We may not have the power to fix the problems in America but we have what we need to help Farmville and the citizens that call it home.    Farmville has always been a special town and has an appeal that people are drawn to.  Lowering the unemployment rate and the number of townspeople that live below the poverty rate can increase the economic stability and appeal to our town thus promoting growth and a secure future.  This will benefit every town resident.  The movement can start with Farmville and it can start today.

 Sources:

  1. Fraser, Ross.  Study: Food Assistance Shifts from ‘Emergency’ To ‘Chronic’”.  www.feedingamerica.org.  (2011).  4 January 2013. http://feedingamerica.org/press-room/press-releases/hungers-new-staple.aspx.
  2. Poppendieck, Janet. Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and The End Of Entitlement. New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 1998. Print.
  3. Slavo, Mac.  “Reality:  More People Requested Emergency Food Assistance Than Found Jobs.”  www.shtfplan.com. (2012).  4 January 2013.  http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/reality-more-people-added-to-food-stamps-than-found-jobs_1008201
  4. “Long-term unemployment creates long-term need as poorest of poor get poorer.” www.oregonfoodbank.org. October 29, 2012.  4 January 2013. http://www.oregonfoodbank.org/News/News-Releases/Articles/Long-term-unemployment-creates-long-term-need?c=130017958268330104.
  5. “Farmville (town), Virginia.”   www.quickfacts.census.gov.  (2012). 4 January 2013.  http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/5127440.html.
  6. “Farmville, Virginia Unemployment.”  www.homefacts.com.   (2012). 4 January 2013. http://www.homefacts.com/unemployment/Virginia/Prince-Edward-County/Farmville.html
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Controlling Hunger in Richmond

Proposal:

The existence of hunger is obvious no matter where you live. While hunger is deemed a problem that deserves all attention, it is a small portion of the actual problem at hand. Hunger is the side effect of poor finances, nutrition education and personal finance education. In order to correct the situation at hand it is imperative that local steps be taken to gather involvement and spread information regarding these issues and the possible solutions. For instance, many people complain that the prices of food are becoming astronomically high. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the monthly cost of food for a thrifty family of four last year averaged $629.10 (USDA). At first glance this does not seem so bad, but when presented with the fact that the poverty threshold for a family of four is $1,918/ month, this large food bill leaves little room for emergencies once taxes and rent have been paid (CNN Money).

After examining the facts surrounding poverty and hunger, it is apparent that something must be done to help stop it at its source. Urban gardens are a source of healthy, inexpensive food, which can also bring communities together. Many people may wonder how a small garden can help solve this hunger problem, when in actuality it costs only $1,500 to set up one of these small gardens (urbanharvest.org) which can feed a family of six for an entire year when they eat 75% of their food from the garden (examiner.com). Along with using urban gardening to help save money and eat more nutritious meals, personal finance classes should be taught, free of charge, by volunteers from the Federal Reserve of Richmond. With help from the right people, a combination of local finance classes and urban gardening can help fight hunger in Richmond.

The Rhetorical Situation:

Meeting with Ms. Twandra Lomax- Brown- Unit Coordinator of the Richmond City Virginia Cooperative Extension

The Controlling Exigency: As Unit Coordinator of the Richmond City VCE, Ms. Lomax-Brown is very well-versed in the issues surrounding poverty and hunger in the Richmond area. I believe that proposing the idea of urban gardens in Richmond would be very well received, especially because they are cost effective solutions. When presenting this idea, I think it would be beneficial to point out the health benefits as well as the cost effectiveness since one of the missions of the VCE is to teach healthy eating habits.

The Genre: In order to request a meeting with Ms. Lomax- Brown, it would probably be most appropriate to e-mail her and request a time since she is so busy. When I do meet with her, it would be best to have a completed guide for the project I would like to present, as well as the cost of materials.

The Purpose: While meeting with her I would like to describe every detail of my plan and how it will benefit the community as well as the Virginia Cooperative Extension. I would hope for her to at least try to gauge whether or not the idea of urban gardens would work, and if so, I would like for her to incorporate them into the regular activities of the VCE.

Constraints: When I mention to Ms. Lomax- Brown that I used to volunteer with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, my idea may be received in a more positive light. I can see my lack of knowledge about funding for the VCE coming into play however, since there would definitely need to be fundraising efforts put in place for this to happen.

Meeting with Ms. Deborah Jackson- Contact for Community Development at the Federal Reserve of Richmond

The Controlling Exigency: As contact for Community Development at the Federal Reserve, I’m sure Ms. Jackson is very well informed about the financial situation regarding different parts of the city. The idea of offering free personal finance classes could be well received if there are funds allocated for this type of involvement in the community. It would be beneficial for me to mention the long term benefits for those who take the classes when talking this over with Ms. Jackson since there is no profit in this for the Federal Reserve.

The Genre: To request a meeting with Ms. Jackson, it would be most appropriate to e-mail her and request a time. While meeting with her it is very important that I have a prepared, detailed outline of the program I would like to see implemented so as to show her how motivated and passionate I am, as well as to not waste any of her valuable time.

The Purpose: In my meeting with Ms. Jackson, I would like to go in depth about every detail of the program I am proposing, including potential costs for the Federal Reserve. I would like to obtain information about whether or not this has been tried before from Ms, Jackson, as well as ask her to incorporate these finance classes into the regular programs at the Federal Reserve.

Constraints: My lack of knowledge about the cost of personal finance classes and outreach programs would be my greatest constraint when approaching Ms. Jackson.

Works Cited

“Median Income Falls While Poverty Rate Edged Lower.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/12/news/economy/median-income-poverty/index.html>.

 “One Local Quarter-acre Organic Vegetable Garden Can Feed a Family of Six.” Examiner.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.examiner.com/article/one-local-quarter-acre-organic-vegetable-garden-can-feed-a-family-of-six>.

 “Urban Harvest Community Gardens Program Start a Garden Guide.” Urban Harvest Community Gardens Program Start a Garden Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.urbanharvest.org/cgardens/startguide/budgeting.html>.

 “USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.” USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/>.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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