Denise “Dinky” Youngsteadt-Parrish, Dublin Food Pantry | Fr. David Schalk, Bishop Griffin Resource Center | Scott Marier, Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM)
September is Hunger Action Month, and the Cramer Team is celebrating our amazing partners who feed our community every day. More than 34 million people in the United States are food insecure, and 9 million of those are children. We are proud to work with incredible leaders who are building a future where no one goes hungry.
In honor of Hunger Action Month, we spoke to Denise “Dinky” Youngsteadt-Parrish, Executive Director of Dublin Food Pantry, Fr. David Schalk, Campaign Committee member for the Bishop Griffin Resource Center, and Scott Marier, Executive Director Emeritus at Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM). They told us why this mission is so important to them and to our community, and how we can all help our neighbors facing food insecurity.
See what they had to say in our Q&A session below!
Q: What does your organization’s work to connect individuals and families in need with nutritious food mean to you? What about your mission is impactful to your community at large?
Dinky Youngsteadt-Parrish: “Food is an integral part of our daily lives. We celebrate life and death with food. We celebrate graduations and special occasions with food. Food is what gives us the ability to think and to grow. When we are able to contribute to a family or individual’s ability to share in this cultural experience, we are acknowledging them as an important part of the human family. I want everyone to have a seat at the table, and when we at Dublin Food Pantry contribute to that, it is confirmation we are doing the right and honorable thing. This ability to bring others to the table brings opportunities to the entire community by acknowledging we are all in this together. If you are an employer, you want to be able to hire people who have the capacity to contribute to your work. If you are a school teacher, you want to be able to have students that can learn. Together we make all these things possible.”
Fr. Schalk: “Personally speaking, the Bishop Griffin Resource Center is an expression of my faith. To feed a hungry neighbor is to recognize his or her dignity and to revere God’s image and likeness in that individual. The Bishop Griffin Resource Center is a safety net for our city. We provide both food for the body and hope for the soul. People need to know that they are seen, heard, and loved. It is our mission to assist and encourage people when they are forced to choose between food, medicine, and rent in their monthly budget.”
Scott Marier: “WARM’s commitment to supply nutritious food and support to families in need lies at the heart of our mission and has been an essential part of our work for over 50 years. WARM takes a servant leadership role in alleviating the effects of hunger and poverty in our community. We’ve seen firsthand the power of a hand-up with resources. Love is transformational for the folks we serve.”
Q: What are the most impactful actions someone can take to help in the growing fight against food insecurity in September and beyond?
Dinky Youngsteadt-Parrish: “Educate yourself, your family, and your friends about the critical need for food for millions of people in the United States. Volunteer at events supporting food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and foodbanks in your community. Call on congress, state, and local politicians to take action on this important issue. We must work together to end food deserts, food insecurity, and food insufficiency. Expand all food assistance programs, school lunch, WIC, SNAP and other important programs that help ensure people can eat.”
Fr. Schalk: “If you want to join the fight against food insecurity, adopt a family or individual who is struggling with hunger. Accompany them not only with food, but also with kindness, respect, and love. Your presence in their lives may give them the inspiration they need to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their lives.”
Scott Marier: “The donation of food and money is life changing! The fact is that hunger never takes a holiday. So as the need for assistance grows, as it is doing now, it makes it even more urgent that people take philanthropic action to help others. The greatest impact you can have is to leverage your time and money by giving yourself to volunteering and donating your financial support to organizations like ours who are on the front lines in the fight against hunger and poverty. Together, we can and are making a real difference!”
Thank you for sharing with us, Dinky, Fr. Schalk & Scott! To learn more about how you can support these organizations during Hunger Action Month and beyond, click the links below.