Live Well Alabama
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty in many communities throughout the past year. Many people in Alabama didn’t know if they would still be able to work, send their children to school, or if it was safe to go to the grocery store.
Identifying A Need
Antionette Hamilton, a SNAP-Ed educator in Mobile County, knew by her work in several schools that some children receive their best nutritional meals while at school each day. When the pandemic forced many schools to close, she knew those children could be in danger of going without a healthy meal.
“There are several families out there who depend on the breakfast and lunch they get at school each day,” Hamilton said. “When the pandemic forced some families out of work, they didn’t know where to turn to feed their children.”
Through relationships with the Mobile County Public School System, Hamilton knew free meals were being distributed to bridge the gap for parents. When she learned where she could help, she decided to ensure nutrition education came along with the food.
While the school system provided meals to families, Hamilton provided education about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and drinking water. She also ensured as many families as possible knew where to find the nutritious meals.
“Any child could go to any school, regardless of where they lived, and get a free meal,” Hamilton said. “I made sure to tell everybody I knew about it so no children would have to go hungry when they relied on those school meals.”
Although she provided education at the distribution sites, Hamilton knew there were still some children who weren’t getting nutritional meals every day. There were parents in her community who still had to work, meaning children did not have transportation to the distribution sites. Hamilton worked with principals and volunteers in the area to deliver meals to those children at home.
Going The Extra Mile
The pandemic also created food distribution problems at the food pantries, as many participants could not get to the site due to public transportation closure. Hamilton once again used her connections with a local church to inform them of the situation. The church coordinated a delivery system for the food pantry. At the same time, Hamilton provided Live Well Alabama recipes and nutrition education with the delivered food.
To find more success stories about SNAP-Ed educators, visit LiveWellAlabama.com.