Carly Eversole- [email protected]
Rock Springs, Wy – Regular session Rock Springs City Council meeting on September 6, 2022, entailed a proclamation unique to the city’s history. The statement read by Mayor Tim Kaumo was that of a call to action by the community in naming September as “Hunger Action Month”. A similar proclamation was addressed at Green River’s City Council meeting, uniting the two cities in the commitment to hunger support.
Before reading the proclamation Treasurer of the local food bank, Sherry Moreno spoke to the council and community members at the podium, stating “Local families are coming in more and more. the food bank (in Rock Springs) has been feeding over 250 families weekly. Donations are coming in and donations are great. but, they are shorter than previous years.” Moreno was among other members recognized in the meeting for their efforts in tackling the hunger battle Sweetwater County faces. In a later interview, Moreno further explained “works with a lot of people and enjoys what she does. I’m at the food bank every day and enjoy helping people. I have been in the area for 29 years but have been with the food bank for 6 or 7 years. I’m surprised at how many people in our community need help”
Food Bank of Wyoming representative Myriam Wolcott was in attendance at the meeting as well and spoke to the council about the work local members have put in, not only at the food bank but with other programs within the community as well. The headquarters for the Food Bank of Wyoming is in Evansville, Wyoming near Casper and Wolcott’s role within the organization is that of a Program Manager overseeing nearly 220 programs statewide, with 160 partners driving those programs at the local level.
Wolcott went on to highlight some of the additional programs in the community including the “totes for hope program” which takes place at Stagecoach Elementary. Nearly 150 children are sent home with totes of food at the end of the school week to help support families over the weekend struggling with enough food. The second program she spoke of is “a mobile pantry, which is a food truck program with 16 drop-off locations around the city that injects needed food directly into the community.” Wolcott went on to explain “some of these programs started as COVID relief but were successful, which in the food bank industry is not necessarily a good thing. It’s all in how you measure success.” Wolcott then took a moment to thank the local volunteers of the food bank in Rock Springs and all their efforts.
The proclamation read by Mayor Kaumo addressed some statistics facing local hunger struggles including the fact that 11.3% of Sweetwater County residents struggle with hunger, and one in every 6 children does not know where their next meal will come from. A staggering 4,940 local residents rely on the food bank annually for support, while the food bank of Wyoming provides 9 million meals across Wyoming annually. Kaumo did continue to recognize local efforts saying “churches have food donations set up and residents have pantries set up in their own driveways. The community does help one another.” In the proclamation Kaumo “encouraged citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of food insecurity and how it impacts our nation, state, county, and communities.”