While grassroots efforts are underway in every Wyoming county dedicated to reducing hunger and combating food insecurity, demand on resources statewide has increased exponentially due to the current COVID-19 crisis.
To combat this increased need, first lady Jennie Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative and the Wyoming Governor’s Residence Foundation allocated $40,000 in May to nonprofit organizations fighting hunger in each of Wyoming’s 23 counties, as well as $50,000 to organizations for infrastructure needs, through the Initiative’s first-ever grant program.
“The mission of Wyoming Hunger Initiative is to support the existing work of anti-hunger organizations across the state,” first lady Gordon said. “It’s important to us that we allocate resources where they will have the greatest impact, as quickly as possible.”
The Ranchester Community Cupboard, in Sheridan County, and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming, in Johnson County, were both awarded grants from the program for the 2020 year.
Ranchester will purchase a freezer, shelving and develop a new approach project while the Boys and Girls Club in Johnson County will utilize the funds to purchase a dishwasher to be used for their free meal program, according to the first lady’s office in a statement to Sheridan Media.
The $40,000 COVID-19 response funds will be directed specifically to feed families during this time of crisis.
A portion of the funds will be allocated to Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies to increase support for their mobile food pantries which target areas in Wyoming where need is greatest.
In May, the additional funding supported mobile food pantries in Sweetwater, Big Horn, Converse, Park, Platte, and Hot Springs counties.
For counties not visited by mobile food pantries in May, local nonprofits will receive funds to support food distribution efforts, either by a local food pantry or a supporting organization identified by the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative allocated $50,000 in funding for anti-hunger organizations in need of infrastructure support or equipment. The following organizations are 2020 grant recipients:
Backpack Blessings of Powell – Park County
Basin Area Food Bank – Big Horn County
Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming – Johnson County
Boys and Girls Club of Douglas – Converse County
Boys and Girls Club of Sweetwater County – Sweetwater County
City Park Church of Casper – Natrona County
COMEA House and Resource Center – Laramie County
Ranchester Community Cupboard – Sheridan County
Edible Prairie Project – Campbell County
Wyoming Food For Thought Project – Natrona County
Goshen HELP – Goshen County
Greybull Community Outreach Food Bank – Big Horn County
Joshua’s Storehouse – Natrona County
Laramie Soup Kitchen – Albany County
Lincoln County School District #2 Friday Food Bag Program – Lincoln County
Pinedale Community Food Basket – Sublette County
Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies may offer additional matching funds for partner organizations through Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies. A third round of funding is planned to be distributed in June to ensure resources continue to be available to those in need.
Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s efforts are made possible by generous donors, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, Rocky Mountain Power, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., John P. Ellbogen Foundation, Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, Black Hills Energy, AT&T, Albertsons Foundation, Cowboy Skill Games, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, Wyoming Business Alliance, Hughes Charitable Foundation, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Ciner of Wyoming and numerous private donors from across the state.