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April 16, 2009

ULM students encouraged to assist Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana with hunger study

Are you interested in making a difference?

Dr. Anita Sharma, associate professor of social work at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, calls for ULM students to volunteer for the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana as it conducts a study on Hunger in America.

Food banks across the nation are participating in this national study, aware that their supplies run short in the days of economic problems. This research is one of the most in-depth surveys of its size assessing the hunger problem.

Volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life are needed to conduct face-to-face client surveys at the provider agency for the remaining month of April.

Sharma stated, “I think this is a great opportunity for ULM to collaborate with a local non-profit agency. It will also allow our students to understand that people can be affected by hunger and poverty even in an affluent society. It will help them get in touch with the reality of current times.”

Hunger in America 2009 is the fifth national hunger study conducted by Feeding America – The Nation’s Food Bank Network and its member food banks. The purpose is to conduct extensive research into the distribution of food assistance services to low-income Americans through a comprehensive network of agencies.

The study is unique as it surveys both charitable relief organizations in local communities and compares those findings with agencies from other communities across the country, as well as surveys the clients who use these agencies’ services. This two-pronged study – local agencies and recipients – enables the food banking community to better meet the needs of its recipients, and analyze the capacity of the charitable food distribution system to meet those needs.

The client survey data will provide important demographic information both nationally and locally. Feeding America and each of the local food banks will use these results to improve hunger relief activities and build or refine food procurement and distribution programs to best reflect the needs of the millions of clients collectively served each year. The information resulting from the study will be shared as broadly as possible to help raise awareness of the extent of hunger in America’s neighborhoods.

The hunger study will generate insight about clients’ changing needs, how the economy is affecting them, and how many clients are served—or, if turned away, why.

Food Bank of NE LA representative Dana Taylor encourages volunteers to step forward. “It’s more important than ever to see the picture of rising demand and the charitable response. Consider the investment you’re making now in the hunger study as an investment in the future of the work you do.”

To volunteer or to receive additional information, contact Sharma at 318-342-1409 or or Taylor at 318-322-3567, ext. 303 or

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