On September 25, 2017, Alexandra Kennedy visited the Career Center to facilitate a design charrette of the Moon Shot Project, a series of focus groups where community members come together to create solutions that will end hunger.

Kennedy is a former SparkPoint at Skyline College client and student assistant who specialized in public benefits. SparkPoint at Skyline College has led to her professional development, educational persistence and career interests. Kennedy successfully graduated from Skyline College, transferred to the University of San Francisco and is currently an employee of the Second Harvest Food Bank as a Community Liaison on the Moonshot Team, an innovative effort to make food accessible to all.

Kennedy is passionate about advocating for people of all walks of life who have barriers to accessing public benefits. Through SparkPoint, she has been able to put her passion to action and change lives.

When Kennedy worked in the Public Benefits office at SparkPoint, she advocated for many students and community members who were struggling to make ends meet. She shared how one client, a woman who was recently divorced and left to raise two children on her own, entered the SparkPoint Public Benefits office in a crisis. Her status drastically changed from a married affluent San Francisco home-owner to the head of household living below the poverty line with two boys to feed and raise. Since she had been a stay-at-home mom for almost a decade and was not used to living in poverty, she was unaware of resources that could help lift the burden of feeding children without an income. Kennedy advocated for and connected this family to an improved living situation.

Despite public benefits, 700,000 people go hungry or are at risk of going hungry in the San Mateo and Santa Clara County. The Second Harvest Food Bank envisions a community where no one goes hungry.

To address the question, “How might our community ensure that every one of us is well-fed from now on?” staff, faculty and students gathered in groups at the Career Center to develop and share innovative ideas on such themes as food access, community empowerment, education and technology.

  • Offer food to the homeless, using leftovers at food drives, farmer’s markets, food banks and community gardens.
  • Use technology or social media to educate and connect folks.
  • Empower youth to get involved, such as the H.E.L.P. club in Palo Alto, a group of high school students who garden, grow and give food and provide college credits for service hours.
  • Young people could prepare and deliver meals to the elderly.
  • Start up a grocery delivery system developed to make nutritious food accessible to low-income families; tax unhealthy foods to subsidize healthy meals.
  • Create an application that connects the community around food access and insecurity. People in the community could request food and local neighbors could help one another by donating prepared meals and groceries.
  • Collaborate across programs; host community events that build community and reduce stigma.
  • Use social media to connect folks, spread awareness and share information.
  • Meet people where they are at; provide fresh fruits and vegetables to homes, and public spaces including parks, libraries, fast food restaurants, parking lots and bus stops.
  • Get involved! Vote and organize community to elect the right leaders.

The Second Harvest Food Bank envisions a hunger-free community. SparkPoint at Skyline College is on board. Together, we will make a significant impact in the quest to end hunger. No child should go hungry. When we match creative solutions with resources, we can transform our society. The Moon Shot Project is a prime example of innovative community building and research by the community and for the community.

Article by Valerie Higgins | Photo by Valerie Higgins and Chad Thompson

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