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University Students Respond to Hurricane Irene

October 2011

Students working at the Feinstein Center for A Hunger Free America responded to thousands of calls from people across the state who lost food due to widespread power outages caused by hurricane Irene.

From August 30th through September 19th, the students working with the URI SNAP Outreach Project worked one-on-one with Rhode Island residents to help facilitate their ability to receive replacement benefits to compensate for lost food. With almost 300,000 buildings without power after hurricane Irene, many households were forced to throw out perishable food items, while others were stranded in their homes due to felled trees and power lines.

The ten student workers at the SNAP Outreach Center worked day-in and day-out, seven days a week, making sure that everyone receiving SNAP benefits was compensated for lost food. Long work days--and even the start of classes--was not enough to deter the students from helping residents in need.

During the weeks after the hurricane, the students answered an average of 1,000 calls per week. This volume greatly exceeds the usual rate of 200-300 calls per month, and this level of activity has never before been seen in the center. However, despite the sudden and urgent wave of activity, the students responded with professionalism and determination.

“There was a willingness to just do whatever it takes---come early, stay late. [The students] threw themselves into it, rose to the challenge, and did a really good job,” remarked Kathleen Gorman, Director of the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America.

One student worker came in as a favor one day and found the phones ringing off the hook. “It seemed like there wasn’t enough time to get to everyone, and some people were in really tough situations--people were upset,” recalls DJ Leal, who has worked with the center since the beginning of the summer.

At the end of the ordeal, the students felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. DJ reflects on the past couple weeks, saying “We responded very well, with almost no notice.” Although the students were pleased to find how well they handled the crisis, they just hope there isn’t a next time.

Have you heard about snap?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the new name for the Food Stamp Program.

Learn more about the SNAP Outreach Project or to access a benefits application:

www.eatbettertoday.com

 

What's new at the hunger center

Each year community members challenge themselves to live on a Food Stamp budget for a week.  This year, from October 27-November 3, the RI Interfaith Coalition with Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson, Executive Minister, RI State Council of Churches, Rabbi Peter Stein, President, RI Board of Rabbis, and other community leaders will be asked to eat on $31.50 a week the nationwide food average weekly food stamp benefit for FY2010 which is: $4.50 a day or $1.50 a meal.

This year, Maria Cimini, SNAP Outreach Coordinator is taking the challenge.

To read about Maria's experience, click here.

PREVIOUS HUNGER CENTER NEWS

University Students Respond to Hurricane Irene

Pres. Dooley mentions the Hunger Center in his most recent "Conversation with URI"

Kathleen Gorman speaks at Hungry for Answers conference

Reaching out to the Hispanic community

Have you heard about snap?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Program is the new name for the Food Stamp Program.

Learn more about the SNAP Outreach Project or to access a benefits application:

www.eatbettertoday.com

What's new at the hunger center

The Restaurant Meals Program comes to Rhode Island

Now there is a way for homeless, elderly, and disabled SNAP recipients to buy hot, prepared meals. The Restaurant Meals Program uses the same SNAP benefits and EBT cards to allow certain low-income individuals to buy low-cost meals at participating locations. Eligible individuals are the homeless, elderly, and disabled who may not have access to food storage or preparation.

For more information about the Restaurant Meals Program, visit www.snaprmp.org.

For more information about the Restaurant Meals Program in RI, visit www.eatbettertoday.com

 

PREVIOUS HUNGER CENTER NEWS

SNAP Outreach Coordinator takes part in Food Stamp Challenge

University Students Respond to Hurricane Irene

Pres. Dooley mentions the Hunger Center in his most recent "Conversation with URI"

Kathleen Gorman speaks at Hungry for Answers conference

Reaching out to the Hispanic community