This past summer, No Kid Hungry teamed up with FRESHFARM to pilot a council of local families in Washington, D.C. to better understand how we can help feed kids.
The family council recommended a number of approaches to decrease hunger and increase overall community well-being. These included helping parents find more community access points for fresh fruits and vegetables, expanding availability of mental health resources, and establishing an information sharing network that parents can draw from for support.
Facilitated by FRESHFARM Community Engagement and Education Director, Martine Hippolyte, the nine-month initiative established an an Early Childhood Family Council in D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8 to help families and caregivers of young children increase their access to healthy foods while identifying community needs and developing strategies to improve community well-being.
The goals of the council were to:
- Amplify the voices of community members, especially families of 0-5-year-olds who have experienced hunger;
- Enable members to have an authentic and inclusive listening experience;
- Ensure that strategy and programs developed by the council are rooted in community needs and interests;
- Provide experiences and skills to council members that push them forward as leaders in their communities; and
- Test a local, urban Early Childhood Family Council, and learn best practices to effectively develop and manage similar councils.
Participation in the Early Childhood Family Council was a positive experience for members, and many expressed that it allowed them to learn from each other, connect with new people, and exchange resources and information.
How to Start a Family Council
FRESHFARM’s Martine Hippolyte, in partnership with No Kid Hungry, developed this toolkit as a guide and resource for organizations on how they can form a family council in their community. The toolkit offers a range of activities and information divided into four phases for outreach and recruitment, onboarding and interviews, council meetings, and evaluation and planning.
Check it out, spread the word, and promote it in your community!