The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies and Feeding America will be holding a round table in Rock River to discuss combating food insecurity in the town and Albany County.

Victoria Ziton, WFBR communications and development manager, said the round table will bring together local leaders to examine the food insecurity needs in Albany County. Ziton said this is the first of many discussions on food insecurity, and she hopes the round table sparks a dialogue about food insecurity.

“We want to find out what they perceive their needs to be, every town is unique,” Ziton said. “What they might already have in place, how we can support them and make certain that their needs are being met.”

Ziton said WFBR will be presenting information that Feeding America had gathered on food insecurity in Albany County.

According to that data, of the 37,836 people who live in Albany County, about 18 percent of people experience food insecurity.

Combating food insecurity can be particularly challenging in rural areas such as Wyoming. Ziton says that many rural areas in Wyoming are classified as “food deserts.”

“We find a number of our very rural areas in Wyoming have no access to fresh food. They have no grocery store; don’t even have a convenience store connected with a gas station,” Ziton said. “If you are part of the working poor, just getting to a location that has food can be a financial burden.”

Another issue with combating food insecurity is that sometimes, it simply isn’t talked about.

“Food insecurity is something that we don't always discuss,” Ziton said. “I may not feel comfortable telling you my neighbor, or you my best friend, or you my employer that I am having a hard time providing food for my family.”

Ziton says she encourages people to keep hunger in the forefront of their minds. Summer can be a particularly difficult time for families experiencing food insecurity. Students who could take advantage of school lunch and other school food programs are out for the summer and do not have access to those resources.

Ziton says many people remember hunger during the holiday season such as at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but donations and support taper off in the summer.

The round table will be held in the Rock River town hall at 12 p.m. noon on Tuesday, May 22. Ziton said they will try to confine the time to an hour, so that people can get back to work. Ziton said attendees are being encouraged to bring their own lunch.

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