by Kirby Lindsay
On May 21, Solid Ground will hold their annual fundraising luncheon, with this year’s program “focusing on different ways to end hunger,” according to Mike Buchman, Communications Manager.
Solid Ground began, in 1974, as the Fremont Public Association with a food bank that fed many hungry in our community. In 1995, they transitioned the food bank to FamilyWorks (although it continues to operate at the Solid Ground building, 1501 N. 45th St in the Wallingford neighborhood.)
Solid Ground, a service agency focused on finding an end to poverty, operates over 30 programs of their own including, through their Hunger Action Center, several that deal with the systemic barriers to good nutrition. This umbrella covers programs such as Lettuce Link, Apple Corps, Food Resources, Partners In Caring, Food Security for Children, and Operation Front Line (OFL).
Operation Front Line
Claire Leamy has served as OFL supervisor for three years. The enthusiasm of her clients keeps her going. “People want to do well for themselves, and their families,” she explained recently, and the program can “give people some options and skills to feed themselves and their families in a healthy way.”
“It is cheaper to eat a nutrient poor diet in this country,” Leamy pointed out. “In lower income neighborhoods,” she said, few stores, if any, carry fresh produce and whole grains. Yet they have easy access to soda and fast, processed food. A 2008 report by the national Center for Disease Control stated, “low-income people have the highest rates of obesity and have difficulty accessing the necessary foods for maintaining a healthful diet.”
Operation Front Line teaches building blocks to better nutrition, and smarter shopping habits. Leamy, along with volunteer professional chefs and nutritionists, lead the six-week course for groups of low-income, disadvantaged, recently immigrated and/or struggling adults, seniors, teens or parent-child teams. OFL classes are taught at locations already familiar to each group, such as an upcoming class at Literacy Source in Fremont.
The session will include a trip to a local grocery store so ‘students’ can learn hands-on how to shop wisely. After all, these students will learn to cook a meal for less than $1.65 per serving which, according to Leamy, represents the maximum food stamp (now called SNAP) allotment for one month. In class, students learn two recipes, and after class they return home with a bag of ingredients for one recipe so they may practice on their own.
OFL works in partnership with Share Our Strength, a nationwide program that assembled the book of recipes used in class. These recipes include dishes from a variety of ethnic origins - ratatouille, turkey tacos, tortilla lasagna, gnocchi, jambalaya, quesadillas, etc. – plus standard fare like herb roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese and ‘tuna boats’ served in carved-out cucumbers. They also include limited amounts of meat in deference to cost. The final pages of the book does contain a small number of desserts such as bread pudding, chocolate cake, apple crisp, baked bananas with strawberries, etc.
How To Help
Leamy has had professional chefs and trained nutritionists volunteer from Fremont, and she can use more. Also, this fall check out Chef’s Night Out, the Solid Ground fundraiser for OFL. Leamy can also be contacted about any groups (of 8 people or more) who could benefit from this class. She can be reached by e-mail or at 206/694-6700.
Solid Ground continues to help many members of our community, even beyond Operation Frontline, and the Hunger Action Center. To donate to this amazing works of this agency, contact them directly or donate through the Fremont Chamber as part of the funds being raised by the Fremont Fair. Help Solid Ground end poverty, end homelessness and, hopefully, end hunger.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.