CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Hunger Initiative offers ways to connect people in all 23 counties of the state with food resources amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the state.
That includes, Natrona County, where the Wyoming Hunger Initiative provides links to dozens of food pantries serving the community. They also link to Natrona County School District food service information.
Information about grocery stores, restaurants in the area and Facebook communities, including Casper’s Online Farmers Market are also included.
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Wyoming First Lady Jenny Gordon launched the Wyoming Hunger Initiative in October 2019 with a mission to address child hunger in the state.
A task force including Gordon and 12 other members was formed on March 17 to respond to the COVID-19 situation. Members include people like Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies Director Tony Woodell,
Wyoming Food for Thought Project Executive Director Jamie Purcell, Wyoming Department of Education Nutrition Supervisor Tamra Jackson
and Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming Chief Executive Officer Ashley Bright.
Gordon said at a press conference on Wednesday that Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies would be setting up mobile food pantries in communities across the state. She noted that school districts across the state are finding ways to continue some food services for children amid school closures.
“The task force will focus primarily on ensuring no child or senior goes hungry,” the Wyoming Hunger Initiative says. “The sudden additional demand on food pantries statewide will require creative solutions, as will protecting the health of our Wyoming neighbors and friends at highest risk for contracting COVID-19.”
“Establishing best practices for food storage, distribution, and delivery will be paramount and the task force is already working with state experts to ensure the best possible protocols. Innovative partnerships between public-private entities are also being developed, and new opportunities to get involved in communities across the state will be announced in the coming days.”
Other agencies are stepping in to support the work of the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
That includes the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. The WBA announced on Thursday that the two organizations had donated $5,000 to support the Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s efforts.
“Supporting the Hunger Initiative is a way for the business community to step forward to help those in our state who don’t have enough to eat, especially in light of economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WBA/WHF President Cindy DeLancey said in the release. “These organizations play a vital role helping anyone hungry in our communities.”
Gordon expressed gratitude for support.
“I’m touched by business owners who are struggling and yet they are reaching out to help those who are less fortunate,” she said in the announcement. “This is the Wyoming we all know and love.”
DeLancey encourages businesses and the community to donate to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative or to local nonprofits. Donations to the WHI will support local organizations as well.
“The donations will be used to help fund the Hunger Initiative’s individual grants, which range from $500 to $2,000,” the WBA says. “Any organization within the state of Wyoming whose mission aligns with the mission of the Wyoming Hunger Initiative is eligible for grants.”
Organizations can apply for grants with the WHI online. Those are due by April 20 and funds will be available starting in May.
“Grant proceeds can be used for projects and equipment,” the WBA says. “While requests for start-up costs will be considered, money for food or salaries will not be awarded.
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: email@example.com
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.