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SNAP program helps recipients double their food dollars

LOUISIANA WEEKLY — Louisiana Healthcare Connections has announced that it is sponsoring a SNAP match program for mobile fresh produce markets operated by the local non-profit Sankofa in New Orleans.

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By Fritz Esker

Louisiana Healthcare Connections has announced that it is sponsoring a SNAP match program for mobile fresh produce markets operated by the local non-profit Sankofa in New Orleans.

Sankofa, founded in 2008, operates mobile fresh produce markets three days a week where SNAP benefits are accepted. The SNAP/EBT matching program offers a dollar-to-dollar match of up to $10 for purchases made with a SNAP card at any of Sankofa’s markets. The markets move from location to location to underserved areas in the city, including places like the Lower 9th Ward Senior Center, the Daughters of Charity Health Center at St. Cecilia, the Hollygrove Senior Center, and other locations.

Louisiana Healthcare Connections is a Healthy Louisiana Medicaid health plan that provides no-cost health insurance to those deemed Medicaid eligible by Louisiana.

“This allows families to get $20 worth of healthy, locally grown, nutritious foods for $10,” said Kendra Case, chief operating officer of Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “The program is open to anyone who purchases food products with a SNAP card.”

Rashida Ferdinand, executive director of Sankofa, said this funding is important because many people’s SNAP benefits have been reduced, thus limiting their ability to buy healthy foods.

Case said that Louisiana Healthcare Connections wants to ensure that underserved communities and vulnerable populations have access to high-quality fresh foods, as well as aiding the growth and sustainability of local farmers.

“Our sponsorship of this program is a win-win. We are helping Sankofa to increase food access, and supporting the sustainability of local farmers,” said Case.

When people in underserved neighborhoods are unable to get access to affordable, nutritious food, it is called food insecurity. People who are victims of food insecurity are often exposed to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and poor mental health. Children in these neighborhoods are more frequently ill, recover more slowly from illnesses, and are hospitalized more often.

Aside from the financial benefits of Sankofa’s partnership with Louisiana Healthcare Connections, there is also an educational component.

“Providing access to healthy foods is important, but it’s also important to connect local families to education about healthy diets and how to prepare healthy foods,” said Case. “As part of the sponsorship, Louisiana Healthcare Connections will underwrite Sankofa’s 2019 Healthy Heartbeats classes (www.sankofanola.org/healthyheartbeats), which provide healthy eating and nutrition education through collaborative, communal food preparation workshops.”

Sankofa is committed to making the Lower 9th Ward a healthier neighborhood for all of its residents. They have been doing mobile markets since 2015 and started the Healthy Heartbeats Classes in 2017. Many of the people who attend the classes have never received any education on healthy eating habits. Class attendees are given “veggie prescription” vouchers to purchase fresh produce at one of Sankofa’s markets.

“We don’t have a lot of markets that sell fresh produce in our neighborhood and we’re trying to provide that,” said Ferdinand.

This article originally appeared in The Louisiana Weekly

Activism

African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) helps support 25th annual turkey drive in East Oakland

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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The African American Sports & Entertainment Group came out to support the 25th annual Community Giving Foundation Turkey drive at Verdese Carter Park in East Oakland.

Hosted by founder and organizer Marlon McWilson, the turkey drive that started in 1997 has now donated over 35,000 Turkey’s through McWilson’s foundation. In attendance were Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland PAL, California Assembly Member Mia Bonta (AD-18) along with husband and Attorney General for the State of California Rob Bonta. Assembly Member Bonta also congratulated the AASEG on their recent unanimous 8-0 approval to enter negotiations with the City of Oakland on an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) to purchase the city’s half interest of the coliseum land, and looks forward to working with the team.

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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Bay Area

Oakland’s Two Star Market to Host 19th Annual Thanksgiving Community Celebration

Oakland’s Two Star Market’s manager Farouq Alawdi, said the market is ready to feed anyone and everyone during the afternoon celebration and feast that will include a menu of smoked turkey, chicken kabobs, pizza, Hispanic delicacies, side dishes and desserts to the 1,000 guests expected to attend. Families with two or more family members will be able to take additional dinners home with them.

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Community residents (left) and volunteers (right) participating in Two Star Market's Annual Thanksgiving Community Celebration last year. Photo courtesy of Two Star Market.
Community residents (left) and volunteers (right) participating in Two Star Market's Annual Thanksgiving Community Celebration last year. Photo courtesy of Two Star Market.

By Clifford L. Williams

Oakland’s Two Star Market, located at 2020 MacArthur Blvd., off Fruitvale Avenue, is gearing up once again for its 19th Annual Thanksgiving Community Celebration to be held on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

Oakland’s local community and residents from surrounding cities will join in the fun and festivities during the Market’s afternoon food fest that has fed residents from as far away as Vallejo and Fremont.

Two Star’s manager Farouq Alawdi, said the market is ready to feed anyone and everyone during the afternoon celebration and feast that will include a menu of smoked turkey, chicken kabobs, pizza, Hispanic delicacies, side dishes and desserts to the 1,000 guests expected to attend. Families with two or more family members will be able to take additional dinners home with them.

“We’ve been funding and providing these hot dinners for the past 18 years” said Alawdi. “It’s our way of giving back to the community because without them, we wouldn’t be here. The community has helped to sustain our business since we first opened in 1983 and this is our way of thanking the community for their helping to sustain our business.

“This year, we will come back to normal, with tables under a tent in the parking lot,” said Alawdi. “The spacious seating will allow attendees to enjoy the full buffet-style servings, while also adhering to mandated social-distancing protocols and guidelines set forth by health officials.”

The annual Thanksgiving meal will be slightly modified because of the COVID pandemic which determines how large groups of people can gather and celebrate. For those vaccinated, it is requested they show proof of their vaccination. Otherwise, masks should be worn at all times when they are not eating. Masks will be provided for those who need them.

Two Star’s in-house SmOakRing Smokehouse eatery will assist in smoking 20 turkeys. Other local eateries making contributions include Dimond’s Vegetarian Pizzeria and the La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, who will partner with Two Star to make the event possible.

“We have a wonderful community here in Oakland and our event draws people from all over the Bay Area,” said Alawdi.

“We are looking for volunteers to help with serving the throngs of people we are expecting. Volunteers should bring their own aprons and oven mittens. Volunteers interesting in working in the kitchen to help cook and serve should sign up at https://2starmarket.com

Alawdi said “the only thing the public needs to bring is a good appetite and have fun while listening to live entertainment including Latin jazz, old-school and rap music. Also, donations are welcomed by visiting www.2starmarket.com.

For more information on the 19th Annual Thanksgiving Community Celebration, contact Two Star Market at 510-531-3576.

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Bay Area

Vallejo Sorority and Fraternity Donate Turkeys for Needy Families for Thanksgiving

“Giving back to the community is the mission of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said chapter president Sandra D. Stowes. “The turkey donations are an annual activity under our program (called) Target 3, which focuses on strengthening families in a variety of ways, including addressing nutrition, health, and financial wellness.”

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Members of AKA and KAP gather to carry out their annual food giveaway in Vallejo. Photo courtesy of AKA and KAP Greek societies.
Members of AKA and KAP gather to carry out their annual food giveaway in Vallejo. Photo courtesy of AKA and KAP Greek societies.

By Angela Jones, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kappa Beta Omega Chapter

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kappa Beta Omega Chapter and Vallejo-Fairfield Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity donated and delivered more than 100 turkeys to several community-based organizations on November 6 to provide Thanksgiving meals for homeless residents and families in need during the holiday season.

“Giving back to the community is the mission of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said chapter president Sandra D. Stowes. “The turkey donations are an annual activity under our program (called) Target 3, which focuses on strengthening families in a variety of ways, including addressing nutrition, health, and financial wellness.”

Sorority and fraternity members partnered with Walmart Neighborhood Market and arranged for the turkeys to be donated and delivered to Christian Help Center, First Baptist Church, Faith Food Fridays, and WothaDabora.

“We increase our impact in the community when we partner with our fellow Greek organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha,” said Kappa Alpha Psi President Darren Stowes. “Together we can close the gap significantly and create healthier, stronger families and communities.”

The donations will help the community organizations serve Thanksgiving meals to more than 400 families.

“Our sorority members look forward to the turkey donations each year,” said Target 3 Chairman Lisa Freeman. “The event is a very rewarding opportunity for our chapter because we’re making a huge difference in the lives of many residents who might otherwise go without a nutritious meal on Thanksgiving.”

Angela Jones, represents the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kappa Beta Omega Chapter

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