Poverty is not a distant problem faced by others, but a real problem in Lander Wyoming. More than one in ten people Fremont County are "food insecure," meaning that they have limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. This data is provided by the Lander Care and Share Food Bank. While the Food Bank meets many needs, the Little Food Pantries in Lander Wyoming fill another need - that of emergency assistance to help people get by "right now", in an emergency and help to the homeless.
Needs identified: Food insecurity, emergency food needed
How Funds Will Be Used: The Lander Rotary Club is proposing a Governor's Grant to purchase $1,000 worth of food for four Little Food Pantries in Lander. The four pantries are situated around town and allow people to "take what they need and contribute what they can". The pantries are particularly helpful during the cold-weather months of the year. Funds will be used to purchase food. Items in the food pantries include nutritional:
• Easy-open canned goods
• Grab and go snacks
• Vacuum packed proteins
What Rotarians will do: Lander Rotarians also donate warm socks, hats, and gloves during the cold months of the year. Rotarians will also sort food, allocate it for distribution throughout the winter and deliver it to the pantries. This is part of an on-going project of the club where club members have supplied food during warm weather months.
Timeline: Food purchase will begin as soon as funds are received and continue until funds are exhausted which is anticipated as May 2024. If it is an especially cold, snowy and icy winter, food and funds may be exhausted earlier.
How project meets needs: This food is available 24/7 and is nutritional. There are local resources to help with more substantial and on-going food needs (Lander Care and Share Food Bank and First Stop), but emergency, at-this-moment needs are not able to be met.
Further Data On Need: The Wyoming Counts Kids 2022 data demonstrates many instances of need in Freemont County and that data reflects Lander as well. That dat includes:
• The County is among the top five counties in Wyoming in WIC enrollments
• The County is #2 in Wyoming in SNAP enrollments
• Medicaid births are the highest in the state at 48.8% of births
• Twenty-five percent of the population is under 18 years of age
• Thirty-five percent of the county population is living in poverty.
• The County had the highest percentage of children without health insurance in the state in 2020.
The people that are food insecure and who need emergency assistance have many faces: Our neighbors who experience food insecurity may have recently lost a job. They may have suffered a stroke or face debilitating illness. They may be elderly with no family around. Or they may be grandparents living on retirement who suddenly had to take in their grandchildren for a while. The faces of food insecurity are many and many are our neighbors.