Care AC started the conversation in Atlantic City with feeding programs to determine the needs of both residents and agencies. From this initial conversation, collaborations were formed. An early success of the group was the assembling of food agencies, including the Community Food Bank, local food cupboards and soup kitchens to educate agencies on the procedures to secure food donations, as well as establish a comprehensive listing of the offerings of individual agencies to address the needs of the hungry in Atlantic City. This collaboration has also led to a broader exposure and adoption of the Summer Feeding program in Atlantic City and the introduction of a Corner Store Initiative. Care AC recognizes our role in facilitating the conversation and bringing interested and impacted agencies together to take the action steps necessary to address health issues.
The Care AC Coalition utilized the partners we have engaged to host a food summit forum at Stockton University in early January titled, “Nourishing Communities – Ingredients for Success.” Local officials, community partners and state agencies came together to share information and discuss initiatives to reduce food insecurity among children, adults and seniors.
Approximately 75 experts attended the summit representing the state Department of Agriculture, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, Community FoodBank of New Jersey Southern Branch, AtlantiCare, Jewish Family Service, Stockton University, Cumberland, Cape, Atlantic YMCA, Advocates for Children of New Jersey, the City of Atlantic City, Atlantic County Department of Health, Growing Green AtlantiCare, Rutgers SNAP-Ed and many other agencies. The event was a success and we are proud to announce that the forum is being replicated to bring partners together in Cape May County to address the feeding needs of that county’s residents.
Care AC has engaged a cross-sector team of partners in a review of the social determinants of health and has established additional topics needing to be addressed. We are coordinating efforts around a common vision of making the healthy choice the easy choice in Atlantic City. With the infrastructure in place, we will continue to leverage connections of other community partners who share our passion and vision.