Chattanooga Area Food Bank Partners With the Bethlehem Center for Grant Award as Part of Feeding America’s Food Security Equity Impact Fund

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$250,000 Awarded to Address Food Insecurity Disparities by Race and Ethnicity in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN – Chattanooga Area Food Bank is proud to announce that it is one of 25 food banks receiving a grant from Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, as part of their Food Security Equity Impact Fund. The $250,000 grant will support a partnership between the food bank and The Bethlehem Center to address the root causes of hunger and food insecurity in communities of color in Chattanooga by developing and advocating for change and developing solutions to improve food insecurity and to create a more just food system.

“This is a major step in our journey to center our work in community-led change and co-development of solutions to end hunger,” says Melissa Blevins, President & CEO of the Food Bank. “This is a guiding example of collective impact when our work is grounded in equity and centered around the community.”

With every award from the Food Security Equity Impact Fund, a minimum of 85% of awarded dollars were allocated to community partners, purposefully driving resources to organizations with historical barriers to access funding, led by and serving people of color. The Chattanooga Area Food Bank and The Bethlehem Center will work to empower residents of marginalized communities of color in Chattanooga to lead efforts in improving food access, particularly in relation to systemic inequity and policy regarding food access by developing strategies for change and advocating for their community at the city-wide level around issues of food access and insecurity.

“We know that communities of color experience food insecurity at disproportionate rates. As we work to improve food access for all, we need to invest in local organizations whose work helps to remove barriers that lead to long-term or multi-generational food insecurity,” said Ami McReynolds, chief equity officer of Feeding America. “The work proposed by food banks and their community partners for these grants is inspiring. Our hope is that we learn from these community investments and together, in partnership with people facing hunger, work to dismantle the systems that drive inequity and truly end hunger in America.”

Feeding America established the Food Security Equity Impact Fund in March 2021 to drive investments to communities of color which are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity. Data shows Black, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islanders experience food insecurity at rates 2-3 times higher than that of white individuals, and food insecurity among Asian subgroups varies substantially leaving some subgroups at heightened risk. In Chattanooga, households of color are 3.5 times more likely be food insecure. Individuals of color saw a 25% increase in food insecurity, while Caucasian individuals saw a 6% decrease in 2020.

For more information about the Chattanooga Area Food Bank visit chattfoodbank.org To learn more about The Bethlehem Center and their efforts visit thebeth.org

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