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Tallahassee organizations host Youth Symposium to address food insecurity during pandemic

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Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 18:11:52-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Addressing the hunger problem for youth in our community is the mission of multiple organizations across our region.

Right now, according to the Second Harvest of the Big Bend, one in four children go to bed hungry across the big bend.

CEO Monique Van Pelt said when a child is hungry, it stems from a larger issue.

"When we see children in need then the entire family is in need," Van Pelt said.

She said this is a problem that has only gotten worse from the pandemic.

"We are seeing a steady, consistent need from families in our community who are facing some really difficult financial times," said Van Pelt.

In Leon County, the second harvest said about 68,000 people go to bed hungry each day. From that 16,000 are kids.

Van Pelt said the Second Harvest is addressing this problem in multiple ways.

"Our program that we have is our backpack program," Van Pelt said. "Making sure children have food on Friday that will last all weekend and also our after school meal program that we have to make sure that children who are going to parks and rec locations or programming after school that they actually have access to snacks and dinner before they get home."

They're not the only organization addressing the issue.

"There is a direct connection between food insecurity and COVID-19," said Dr. P Qasimah Boston with Youth Symposium.

The Tallahassee Food Network and Tallahassee Youth for Change are hosting the 10th annual Youth Symposium on Food and Hunger related to COVID-19 in youth.

She said their goal is to give young leaders a voice in addressing the problems they're facing with health, wellness, and food insecurity.

"To help folks that have these messaging to take action. First within themselves and their families, then their communities as a whole so we can protect our lives in a different way," Dr. Boston said.

The 10th Annual Youth Symposium on Food & Hunger will be held Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at 10 a.m. virtually.

You can register for the event by calling this number: (912) 220-5663