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Vikki’s PR blog

Vikki’s PR blog

A look at my work for advertising and public relations.

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Vlog for Hunger

Like I said I’ve been wanting to do a vlog this semester, and I finally had time! I just wanted to reflect on my experiences as I interviewed and learned about hunger in NEPA. I learned a significant amount of information on both reporting and hunger in our area. I hope our reporting can raise awareness for people who are not fortunate enough to have nutritious food.

I’m happy I was able to share some individual’s stories and I really hope people will read our articles, so they too will understand the problem of hunger in our area. A special thanks to all of my Hunger Bites and Needy Nutrition group members, we’ve reported, drafted, interviewed, and drafted again, it’s finally our time to launch Hunger Bites!

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A Learning Experience

Now that my final draft is finally complete I think I have learned a significant amount of information through research and interviews. Although I did not end up with my plan A idea or even my Plan B idea, I ended up reporting on something that is beneficial to children and families in obtaining food.

My final project focuses on outlets for children to receive nutritious food. That being a food bank, soup kitchen, or free lunches. In my article I quoted an excerpt from the Times Tribune stating, “Since the last decade the subsidized lunch program has increased by 56 percent in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties”. That shows that over half as many children that were on the program a decade ago are added to the free lunch programs.  This is most likely caused by the economic struggle going on and just how much of an impact it is making on our communities.

I interviewed the Dunmore Elementary School Councilor, Amy Ferguson, M.S. She explained how children really rely on this food program. Their parents are busy and can’t afford to pack them a nutritious lunch, so they come to knowing they will be fed. This also helps with parent’s anxiety over their children’s health and nutrition. Some parents want to feed their kids right, but they do not have the funds to buy the healthier food, so they opt for cheaper, usually less nutritious food.

Although these food programs are great for children they may not be as healthy and balanced as you may think. When interviewing Dr. Christaldi, a registered nutritionist, she explained to me that the food served at school is often not balanced and not very nutritious. There is a state requirement for what schools offer for their lunches, but often starches, such as tator-tots, are classified as a vegetable or banana bread as a fruit. She says these school need more balance and variety of foods rather than just pizza every Friday. (This (pizza) by the way is considered a carbohydrate and a vegetable)

In conclusion to my research and interviews, there are options for families to choose including the school lunch programs, but just like anything else, there are some “loop holes” that need to monitored and fixed.  I agree that it is wonderful that children can go to school knowing they are going to be fed and taken care of, but I also agree with Dr. Christaldi and believe that these lunches should be more balanced and nutritious.


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Never Judge

Where does hunger start? That may be a controversial issue for some.  Does it start when you’re a child, a teen, an adult? The fact is hunger can happen ANYTIME in your life. Although you may have a job, home, and steady income one year, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed this stability for life.

As the conclusion of this project approaches I have learned not to judge the people who are hungry, because I may have had a different opinion in my head of the person, but in reality, they are all people that are equal and in need of help.

With the recession going on now, some people who have had great jobs and steady incomes, are being laid off and forced to give up their life styles, losing their homes, cars, and eventually nutrition. Hunger isn’t something you can just run away from.

This is a similar case to the man I referred to in my last post. He had a job, a wife, and kids, but he was laid off and lost everything. Some people may assume that a person that is hungry has most likely been hungry and poor for the majority of their life, but a majority of the people that are hungry in America were able to feed themselves and their children at one point.

The children are also affected with this situation. Some children have grown up in a comfortable environment, then torn from their normal lives and forced to cope with different experiences and environments because their parents have been laid off their jobs and can’t afford the life they once lived.

According to WHO, a child’s major growth and development are in the first 8 years of the child’s life. This means it is crucial for these children to have proper nutrition so they can grow and develop both physically and mentally.

It’s important to be open minded when you think of someone hungry try not to judge or be close minded, because you don’t know the circumstances that made them go to a soup kitchen, or visit the food bank to feed their children. People of all different backgrounds and ethnicity turn to different food banks and soup kitchens for nutrition they can’t provide for themselves.

Further reading

Children go Hungry

Helpful information for those in need

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Food, a Necessity

The last couple of weeks I have conducted a few interviews, in which I learned valuable information and observed how some people interacted with their environment. The most useful interview I had was with a former Marywood employee. Michael Yaeger worked in the Atrium as a food attendant, until he was laid off from his job and put on disability because of his severe arthritis.

He has been coming to St. Francis soup kitchen for 15 years and is fortunate to have a healthy, balanced meal. He says he relies on the soup kitchen for lunch and dinner. Without the soup kitchen this single dad living in downtown Scranton would not be able to provide not only himself with nutritious food, but also his son who visits him every other weekend.

It was really eye opening to visit the soup kitchen and talk to some of the clients and volunteers. To think that people are struggling to put food on the table and live from pay check to pay check, it made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to have food and know that I am able to have food whenever I need.

It was also interesting to see the volunteers and how helpful and happy they were to serve and help their community. Although my initial idea was to feature of children and how soup kitchens cater to the younger ages, I found that at the soup kitchen I visited there was no difference in what was offered to children, but I did talk to some people who had children and they told me that if their kids are hungry and the only thing they have to eat is what is in front of them at the soup kitchen they will eat it if they are hungry. This shows the difference in how some children even eat; hungry children eat for the nourishment, while sometimes children that are not food insecure tend to be picky because they have so many choices. Picky Eating Habits

I also interviewed Dr. Christaldi and learned some valuable information about the importance of nutrition in children’s development both mentally and physically.  

Children are our world’s future, and we need to make sure they are safe and well nourished to grow and become healthy adults.

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Hunger can be cured

Hunger it is a word that describes both mental and physical pain, but there are many other complications and hardships that arise from hunger as well. When you search for hunger on the internet these three other words show up (According to Wikipedia: Hunger)

·         Malnutrition is a general term for a condition caused by improper diet or nutrition, and can occur in conjunction with both under and over consumption of calories.

·         Famine is a widespread scarcity of food, which phenomenon is usually accompanied by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.

·         Starvation describes a “state of exhaustion of the body caused by lack of food.” This state may precede death.

To look up such a simple word, and to think that the word hunger is such a simple term, is wrong. There are so many factors that are also included in hunger, physical pain, mental pain, and even in some cases such as starvation, death. It is adsorb and scary to think that people all over the world are suffering from this pain, yet the solution is so simple. Food. This is not some epidemic or disease that has no known cure like cancer. We have the answer to stop and cure hunger, yet it still exists. Why? That is my question to you. Why do we let people suffer without food?

Anthropologist, Timothy Jones for the University of Arizona conducted a study in 2004 that showed that about half of the food produced in America is discarded and that much of it could feed people who need it. The ironic thing about this food wastage is that rate of food loss, even partially corrected, and could save US consumers and manufacturers tens of billions of dollars each year.

So the next time you think about throwing out half the sandwich you didn’t eat, remember how that could feed  hungry child. My challenge to you is to be aware and cautious of the food you eat and appreciate that you are fortunate enough to have enough food.

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Fat Tuesday.. for some

Today marks the day of a celebration of fun, food, and celebrating the last night for eating fattier foods before the Christian holiday of Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” is a holiday where people like to indulge in foods that they will be giving up for the next month for Lent. Sure, this sounds like fun, but just think if you had to live every day without your favorite foods, let alone any food. The truth is hungry people don’t have one day to indulge; they aren’t even guaranteed one nutritious meal a week. Being hungry and not having enough money or resources to feed yourself or others is an everyday struggle that affects their everyday life.

Today, there are over 16.2 million children suffering from hunger, and the number is growing daily. As I continue with reporting and researching I hope to teach people and make them aware that children in our area are struggling with hunger and they need help. Some children may be more fortunate to eat, but not eat nutritious food because it is too expensive. This is why in my report I plan to include a kid’s healthy “cheat sheet”, finding the most nutritious food for families on a budget.

This week I expect to really nail down my ideas and try to figure out which medium will best meet the needs and information for the public to understand.

So while you may be finishing up that last cupcake, or whatever food you’ve given up for Lent, just remember you are fortunate enough to be able to give up something you love to eat, while there are people that cannot even afford to have 3 meals a day.