Hunger Solutions to host informational and networking event

Pat Gareau, Creative Editor

Hunger Solutions New York will host their sixth annual NOEP outreach convention on May 21. NOEP stands for Nutrition Outreach and Education Program, which aims to spread awareness for food assistance programs, especially for high needs populations like veterans, seniors and college students.

“Approximately one in seven households struggle with their food needs,” said David Reynolds, director of NOEP field operations at Hunger Solutions New York.

The outreach convention, which will take place from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., will provide information to those who may be eligible for food assistance and provide networking opportunities with other local non-profit organizations. A free certificate program will also be provided.

Hunger Solutions has had an active partnership with Hudson Valley for the last four years, and representatives from the college will be at the event.

Kristi Lachar has interned with Hunger Solutions this spring as part of the Human Services program at Hudson Valley. She contributed to planning the event and spreading awareness on campus, giving presentations recently to the armed services club and the student senate.

“The biggest thing is getting food on your table. What all the programs do is help get your basic needs,” said Lachar.

Among the programs can provide assistance is SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), commonly known as food stamps. Reynolds explained that while many student loans cover food and living expenses, “SNAP doesn’t have to be payed back.”

Many college students can qualify for temporary assistance while they are in school with limited income.

“Some students know, but the majority of them are focused on something else,” said Lachar.

The event is not limited to those who may need assistance, but is also intended to educate others in the community and help connect people to other non-profit organizations.

“It’s also a great, great way for students to network and meet all of these organizations,” said Lachar.

Organizations from across New York State will be present, including many from local area. According to Reynolds, they share a common and important mission to help people.

“In the Capital Region there is a great need,” he said.

Lachar has enjoyed her experience interning with Hunger Solutions and would encourage other students to pursue similar opportunities.

“You walk in the office and you’re instantly happier,” she said.

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