The large impact that hunger plays in the health of our communities is something that University of Illinois Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) works to promote in all their work. In March of 2022, Illinois SNAP-Ed had the chance to do this on a larger scale through hosting two Hunger & Health Conferences for charitable food partners and other organizations in Springfield and Oglesby. SNAP-Ed staff serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties played an integral role in coordinating the conferences.
“The conferences provided opportunities for people to learn how to connect to sources of local produce, the impact collaboration can give to your work, the importance of a healthy food policy, and how to adopt a trauma informed approach to food dignity,” stated Rebecca Crumrine, local SNAP-Ed program coordinator. “There was also a chance to hear from food banks across the state in lightning talks.“
During the Hunger & Health Conferences, local work being done in our counties was recognized when partners from the tri-county Healthy Eating Active Living-Food System Partners (HEAL-FSP) helped to present including Midwest Food Bank Peoria, Peoria Area Food Bank, Illinois Public Health Institute, & Tazewell County Health Department (TCHD).
Some other volunteers & organizations also received awards recognizing the great work done locally.
Local Award Winners:
· Outstanding Health Equity Leader
Food Pantry Network– Heart of Illinois (HOI), co-leads TCHD & U of I Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit SNAP-Ed
· Volunteers of the Year
Karen Rose, Food Pantry Network - HOI
Sandy Anton, Neighborhood House/Food Pantry Network - HOI
· Innovative Food Pantry Programming
Sophia's Kitchen—Peoria, IL
“I was so excited to accept the Outstanding Health Equity Leader award for Food Pantry Network–HOI,” co-lead Shanita Wallace stated. “The recognition of the innovative work this collaboration is doing to serve our community, reach limited resource audiences, and respond to real-time needs was a great honor.”
Overall, the conferences included 42 counties represented, 165 non-Extension attendees, and an approval rating of 94% as satisfied or extremely satisfied with the event.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Crumrine joined the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education team in October of 2017. Through her time with Extension, she has enjoyed the outreach in her communities. Beginning as a community worker in Peoria County, she provided direct education to qualified audiences, learned a lot about her communities, and enjoyed teaching positive nutrition behaviors and safe, fun physical activity options.
Rebecca moved into the SNAP-Education Program Coordinator position in January of 2019 with unit-wide responsibilities. This role comes with the ability to expand her positive impact through work that helps improve the policies, systems, and environments that influence healthy eating and physical activity. Rebecca collaborates with partners such as food pantries, schools, and health departments. Her work helps to impact families where they eat, learn, live, shop, and play so the healthier choice can become the easier choice to make.
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