Junior League Hosts SNAP Challenge Nov. 4-10

Friday, October 25, 2013

Members of the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Food Coalition, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and members of his office are joining Junior League of Chattanooga in taking the SNAP Challenge the week of Nov. 4-10.  

Participants in the Challenge pledge to use the average food stamp benefit – $30.80 a week per person in Tennessee – as their total budget for groceries for the seven days of the Challenge.  

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the new name for the federal food stamp program, and the SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Challenge participants must make difficult food shopping choices on $4.40 a day and often realize how hard it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods and stay healthy, officials said

“While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding,” said Tahnika Rodriguez, president of the Junior League of Chattanooga. “We hope to shed some light on the challenges facing many of our neighbors and the need to provide for low-income residents of our area.” 

More than 60,000 Hamilton County residents face additional issues when shopping for food since they live in food deserts where there is no convenient access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Junior League’s current community impact program, Seeds of Change, focuses on eradicating food deserts in Hamilton County, and many SNAP Challenge participants will take the added step of doing their grocery shopping for the week in food desert neighborhoods.

“Many food desert families would like to eat healthier, but it’s hard to do when your only grocery shopping is at a convenience store or a dollar store that’s near your house,” said Mrs. Rodriguez. “If you don’t have transportation or if you have to ride a bus and make multiple stops to get to a grocery store, then it’s often easier to eat whatever is available nearby even if it isn’t healthy.” 

One way area leaders are addressing this situation is with the Chattanooga Mobile Market, which brings fresh produce and other healthy items to food desert neighborhoods to supplement the available grocery shopping. The Chattanooga Mobile Market was founded through a partnership between Gaining Ground, the YMCA, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, and Hamilton County’s Step 1 program, and Junior League members help with the market’s community outreach efforts. A schedule of Mobile Market stops is available at www.chattanoogamobilemarket.org.

As households throughout Tennessee continue to face economic struggles, the state’s food stamp program serves as a critical resource. According to data collected by Gallup and analyzed by the Food Research and Action Center, more than 1.3 million Tennesseans receive SNAP benefits, a 44.5 percent increase over the past five years.

Because of the level of food insecurity faced by many families throughout our community, Mayor Berke decided the SNAP Challenge warranted participation from City Hall. “This illustrates a very real problem that so many in our community face, every day,” he said. “Hunger impacts a person’s quality of life and chance of success. It’s extremely difficult for a child to focus in school or a parent to empower themselves in a new career if they are worried where their next meal will come from.” 

Food stamps help millions of low-income people purchase food each month. Eligibility is based on income and assets depending on household size. In addition to helping families make ends meet, food stamps also give back to a state’s economy. For every $5 in food stamps used in grocery stores or at local farmers’ markets, close to $10 is generated in local economic activity.

To join the Chattanooga/Hamilton County SNAP Challenge, register online at ow.ly/px9P4.  

Junior League of Chattanooga’s SNAP Challenge participants will document their experiences through social media using hashtag #SNAPchatt. Learn more at www.jlchatt.org and follow the Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JLChattanooga, or search the hashtag #jlchatt..


Making Musical Memories At Morning Pointe

Long time volunteer, Bob Marsh, entertained residents with his voice and guitar skills during his visit to Morning Pointe of Hixson.  Mr. Marsh makes monthly visits to the Assisted Living Community to entertain residents and he is always welcomed with smiles and leaves with sweet "thank you, come back again soon"s. (click for more)

Traffic Signal Out At Shallowford, Hickory Valley Tuesday Night

Completion of a utility project will cause the traffic signal at the intersection of Shallowford Road and Hickory Valley Road to be non-working from 7:30-9:30 p.m. today (Tuesday). A police officer will be on site to provide traffic control. (click for more)

Erlanger Health System Projecting $10.8 Million Profit - With Help From $19 Million In Federal Funds

Erlanger Health System is projecting a $10.8 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year - with the help of $19 million in federal funds from a pool for public hospitals. The $19 million received in time for the current budget helped avoid a sizable deficit. The hospital is hoping the federal funds will be coming on an annual basis. At the start of the last fiscal year, ... (click for more)

History Center Gets $400,000 Grant From National Endowment For The Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded grants totaling more than $800,000 to three Tennessee projects that aim to display and preserve historical materials. Winning grants Monday included the Chattanooga History Center, which will get $400,000 to install a permanent, multimedia exhibit on the history of Chattanooga. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will ... (click for more)

I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.    My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Judge Philyaw Is The Best

Tomorrow morning there will be a special gathering at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that will prove to our community that we have perhaps the most innovative juvenile judge in America. Shortly after Rob Philyaw was hand-picked by our Hamilton County Commissioners to fill the remainder of Suzanne Bailey’s term 15 months ago, he found that truancy was a big problem in our schools. ... (click for more)