To solve hunger, we need to find those that need food the most. This may sound simple, but it’s more difficult than you might think.
Cultural biases and systemic racism make this task much harder than it needs to be. To reach those experiencing hunger, we need to identify vulnerable communities that are marginalized by racist systems so we can provide nutritious food, solidarity, and other forms of support. That takes time and money, but thanks to a little help from our national partners at Feeding America, Food Lifeline is now embarking on an ambitious program to reach those most impacted by hunger and poverty.
Food Lifeline has been awarded a COVID-19 Relief Phase 3 Grant to increase access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for tribal communities, farmworkers, and immigrant and refugee communities experiencing food insecurity.
Food Lifeline has chosen Skagit and Whatcom counties to do this important work.
To move the program forward, Food Lifeline has hired a Food Access Specialist. This position will not only live in the community but also be part of the community to better understand their needs and assets.
It is with great pride that we introduce Eber Rivera, Food Lifeline’s new Food Access Specialist.
Eber is a committed community partner and has devoted his life to helping others.
“My cultural background includes Mexican, Indigenous, and American cultures,” says Eber. “I feel like I can really help Food Lifeline and our partners understand the community while learning more from the people experiencing hunger.”
From student mentorship, stewardship organizing, to contact tracing with Skagit County Public Health, Eber experience makes him well-equipped for this new position. Today Eber is working with farmworkers, immigrants, and partner organizations in Skagit and Whatcom Counties. This work now pairs him with community partners like Mutual Aid, Solidarity of Skagit, Mercy Housing Sterling Meadows, the Tri-Parish Food Bank, Bellingham Food Bank, and other organizations in the area. He’s also connecting with community members and farmers to see what culturally appropriate foods can be added to food bank distributions.
Eber looks forward to making an impact.
“I’m eager to see how the work started with this grant will continue and if it might become duplicable to other organizations looking to solve the same food insecurities.”
And the team at Food Lifeline is behind him all the way.
“We feel so lucky to have Eber on the Community Programs team at Food Lifeline!” says Leah Rapalee, Community Programs Manager. “Since starting in November, Eber has already helped Food Lifeline forge deeper connections with partners and community members with lived experiences of hunger. We are excited to see how he continues to support programming rooted in equity and community expertise.”
While the grant expires at the end of April, Eber will remain on with Food Lifeline to continue this important work. And that suits Eber just fine.
“I’m eager to fulfill Food Lifeline’s mission to end hunger in Western Washington one step at a time”.
Finding those that need food and, at the same time, partnering with them to improve food access with the goal of supporting thriving communities now and in the future.