Elizabeth Teuwen, Vice-President, TPSS Board of Representatives
I joined the Co-op Board, as many do, because of an interest in supporting an organization that is more than just a grocery store. “Concern for the community” is the co-op principle that drew me in. The Gus Schumacher grant is a great example of this principle in action. The Board is incredibly grateful to Mike Houston and the Co-op staff for their hard work and perseverance in securing the funding that will provide SNAP recipients in our community with access to fresh, locally grown, produce.
Why is SNAP important? The pandemic opened our collective eyes to the unseen needs of many of our own neighbors. The lines at food distribution events were a reminder of just how many people live in one of the wealthiest counties in the country and still struggle to put food on the table. And while we are indebted to the work of community organizations that pass out boxes of food, that is only a short-term fix to a very long-term problem.
I believe SNAP is a critical part of the solution to this long-term problem. In my professional life, I am a member of the Food Access Team at the Montgomery County Food Council. I connect MOCO residents to emergency food resources and help them navigate the often confusing process of applying for SNAP. I hear from people everyday for whom SNAP is a lifeline. It allows them to shop with dignity and make choices about how they feed themselves and their families.
For all member-owners who share the Board’s Concern for the Community, we invite you to join us for a Community Conversation about SNAP. This is an opportunity for you to learn about the program and its impact on our community members experiencing food insecurity, to see how the Co-op and other organizations in Takoma Park are making a difference, and to connect with fellow member-owners who care about the Co-op’s place in the larger food system. Look for additional details in January. For now, join me in thanking Mike and his staff for making the Co-op a welcome place for SNAP recipients to shop.