With food insecurity a growing problem on the Seacoast, The Chase Home and Gather, both located in Portsmouth, are working together to raise awareness about it.
“Food insecurity is a huge issue for the population we work with and we want to address it holistically,” said The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler.
Founded in 1877, The Chase Home serves more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at Chase Home
“We are joining forces with Gather in hopes that more people will become aware of food insecurity and volunteer their time to help,” Wheeler added.
One way in which the agencies are working with one another includes a shared garden, located on the property of The Chase Home, which sits on 26 acres.
“At Gather, we found that when kids and teens garden and grow their own food they are more likely to eat healthy,” said Executive Director Deb Anthony, who said one out of 9 people in NH are food insecure. “Due to this, we support gardens in several places, including at Chase Home.”
Since growing the garden, Anthony said they have shared food with Chase Home and, in return, their teens have volunteered at Gather.
“It is a great partnership,” she added.
The meals at Chase Home have also been enhanced through a partnership with Megan Stelzer from Ceres Bakery. She volunteers her time every Wednesday evening to make food for the youth who live there.
“I make dinner, a late snack, and I prepare breakfast for the next morning,” Stelzer said. “There is value in the kids seeing me do something for them with no personal gain. They really love it.”
Stelzer is just one example of what both organizations hope to achieve further this year, said Wheeler.
“We are lucky to have this type of positive community involvement, but we ultimately want to enhance this further,” she added.