democracy in action
food bank
food stamps
service project
February 3, 2014

Fighting Hunger Locally


Scott: I have got Keith with me now. And we are talking about food stamps. And across the country nearly 50 million Americans get about $30 a week from the federal food stamp program to buy all of their groceries. And that number is about to go down for many of them, right?

Keith: Right, Scott. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are finalizing a bill that would cut some of that food stamp aid. That means fewer meals for families who rely on the program to put food on their table. But students in Vermont are doing their best to fight hunger in their own communities.

Kathleen Webber: For me, for my family, we have a hard time with food.

Keith: Kathleen Webber knows what it is like to go hungry. Her mom struggles to put food on the table.

Kathleen: We only live off of one income. So it’s very hard for my mom to be paying for everything that we need, especially for food, especially the prices of food these days.

Keith: So that is why this high school senior pitched the issue of hunger to her Democracy in Action class.

Paula Emery: It was actually really great to see people taking on something that turned out to be incredibly meaningful.

Keith: The class votes and takes on one community issue each year, studying it, and looking for solutions. Their teacher calls it service learning. But this year, she is getting an education too.

Emery: I really didn’t think this was going to be the topic they would choose. I was pushing for something else. And what’s really interesting about this one is that I’ve learned a lot about it.

Keith: Like that one out of three students at this school in Vermont get free or reduced cost lunch. Or that one in seven families in the state don’t get enough nutritional foods daily or are forced to skip meals.

The students hope writing to members of Congress, newspaper editors, and this will help.

Meg McMullen: We made $30-a-week budget cookbooks.

Keith: Food-stamp-friendly cookbooks. They include nutritious recipes to feed a family of four for a week on just thirty bucks. That is the average amount of money people get from the federal government for food.

Meg: We found some inexpensive recipes and it really helped us out. And that is why we want to share it with the world.

Keith: They are starting one person at a time outside their local supermarket, talking about hunger and handing out their free cookbooks.

Meg: We have snack breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert.

Keith: Most of the recipes use ingredients like vegetables and high-protein beans. Filling foods that won’t break the bank.

Kathleen: We thought it would be powerful to show people what is healthy and what isn’t healthy. But not only that, but it was cheap. It was cheaper and healthy.

Keith: And Kathleen hopes her class’s project will help other people just like her and put a hard-to-swallow issue in the spotlight.

Kathleen: We are not only here to give out cookbooks, but we’re here to spread awareness.

Keith: So, get this: there are nearly twenty different recipes in that cookbook, including some of my favorites, like stuffed cabbage.

Scott: Actually, I am not surprised that stuffed cabbage is one of your favorites.

Now, if you want to help people who are dealing with hunger, you can go to our Impact page over at and make a difference yourself.


4 comments on “Fighting Hunger Locally

  1. Dana

    I teach a health class in Indiana. I would like to find out more about the cookbook & some ideas to do something with my class. Would there be a way to get ahold of the teacher/students? Possibly purchase a cookbook? Would like any information available. Thank you for your time and information ! Great project.


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