Making nutritious food more accessible to everyone

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I am the Executive Director of the Jubilee Center housed at Saint Matthews Episcopal Church and a member of Washington CAN. A goal of the Jubilee Center is to link faith with social justice, and one way we have done this is through our work with food access.

People throughout this country face challenges in getting healthy food for their families which greatly affect their health outcomes. Some neighborhoods in Auburn have the lowest life expectancy of any areas in King County.

To address this systemic challenge of food insecurity, the Jubilee Center partnered with Washington CAN to bring the Auburn Good Food Bag program to the Jubilee Center. The Auburn Good Food Bag is a program that provides access to organic produce that is affordable and healthy by taking away three barriers: the cost, the locational inaccessibility, and the time it takes to shop.

We have also used the unsold Good Food Bags to support the Tuesday Community Meals at the Jubilee Center, a weekly meal that we serve to the homeless community in Auburn. The Good Food Bag has allowed us to serve more healthy food options at the meals, such as beet salads and chard bruschetta. We have also been able to use some remaining produce to teach classes around preserving summer bounties, increasing access to healthy locally grown produce during winter months.

Economics, social conditions, and the environment have a greater effect on a person’s susceptibility to food insecurity than their choice in lifestyle. Most people are aware of the foods they should eat; yet economic, social, and geographic barriers keep them from purchasing the food that is best for their family. No one’s race, gender, or class should determine the length and quality of their life.

Dianne Aid is the Executive Director of the Jubilee Center housed at Saint Matthews Episcopal Church and a member of Washington CAN for three years.