Giving Back, So Others Might Eat (SOME)
Many think of the U.S. as the land of plenty, but more than 48 million Americans—including 15.9 million children—live in households that struggle to put enough food on the table, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Washington D.C., where the National League of Cities (NLC) is located, the number of "food insecure" households is growing. Today, one in eight District households faces hunger.
Our mission at the National League of Cities is "to help city leaders build better communities." Our education and advocacy efforts support the 19,000 cities and towns we represent, but we rarely have the opportunity to see the impact of our work in our own backyard.
Earlier this month, NLC partnered with So Others Might Eat (SOME) to provide lunch meals to D.C. residents battling hunger. SOME is a local, community-based organization that provides meals and other support services to its clients, many of whom are homeless.
A dozen NLC employees volunteered to prepare meals and food trays for more than one hundred people at SOME's dining room on O Street in Northwest Washington. Many staff members viewed the experience as gratifying, and are eager to continue supporting the SOME program.
"I wanted to give back to my community, and serving food to those in need made me thankful for what I have and appreciative of organizations like SOME," said Rasheeda Mitchell, a program coordinator with NLC.
The event was coordinated with help from NLC's Staff Event Committee, which helps to identify and coordinate opportunities for staff to participate in community service. Dorothy Cheek, an assistant with NLC Mutual Insurance Company, organized NLC's involvement.
"It's a rewarding, eye-opening experience. As an organization that is an advocate for cities and their residents, this is one way to show our commitment," said Cheek.
Guests were served in two shifts, and several stuck around afterwards to show their appreciation.
"The most gratifying experience was at the end, when a few guests gave us a round of applause," added Mitchell. "I'm definitely going to volunteer with SOME again."
NLC is also involved in supporting childhood nutrition through the Institute for Youth, Education and Families' program Combating Child Hunger through the Federal Afterschool Meal Program (CHAMP). The program helps cities reduce child hunger and supplement current funding for out-of-school time programs in their communities by increasing participation in the federal Afterschool Meal Program.