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Posted on: January 22, 2021

City and Cultivate Charlottesville’s Food Justice Network launches 24/7 Food Security Text Line

logo for cultivate charlottesville

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2021

Residents can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to (844) 947-6518 to receive information about food resources available near their current zip code. Information is available in English and Spanish.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The City of Charlottesville in collaboration with Cultivate Charlottesville-Food Justice Network launches 24/7 Food Security Text Line in English and Spanish to provide direct food resource information to residents of the City and surrounding counties.

In March of 2020, the Food Justice Network mobilized to provide communication tools and food access resources to address operational and programmatic changes due to the pandemic shutdown and shelter in place orders. The Food Security Text Line was built in response to community feedback and confusion surrounding changes to food access support in order to combat the rising food insecurity caused by COVID-19 and exacerbated inequities.

"We chose the text message program because community members wanted more personalized information, and we wanted to provide a more direct avenue of communication," said Daisy Mosqueda, the UVA Equity and Environment Fund Fellow leading the program’s development. 

The Food Security Text Line enhances accessibility by ensuring residents are better equipped to navigate food resources while accounting for the additional challenges brought on by the pandemic. The program provides information on 35+ available food pantries and other food resources in Charlottesville and in surrounding counties, including Albemarle, Augusta, Greene, Buckingham, Louisa, Fluvanna, and Nelson. 

Residents can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to (844) 947-6518 to receive information about food resources available near their current zip code. Information is available in English and Spanish. 

In New York City, City Harvest and United Way created a text message program to communicate the changing hours of operations and food pantry information for residents experiencing food insecurity. The program strengthened the organizations’ ability to respond to the COVID crisis including reduced pantry wait times and improved access to food resources. 

The Food Security Text Line builds on the infrastructure of the No Kid Hungry text line (text Food to 877877) for school meal distributions and the USDA Hunger Text Hotline (text Food or meals to 97779) for local USDA food banks, including the many resources specific to our local community such as food banks, church food pantries and nonprofit programs. 

For more information and to spread the word, visit: https://cultivatecharlottesville.org/covid-19/.  To provide feedback on the text line, please fill out this survey: tinyurl.com/foodtextline 

This program was made possible by coordinated support from the City’s Food Equity Initiative and Food Justice Network Organizations and Partners, including community members, the University of Virginia Equity & Environment Fund and the City of Charlottesville Department of Human Services. 

Cultivate Charlottesville’s Food Justice Network would like to express our gratitude for community members and advocates from the following organizations that dedicated their time and energy to inform the program design and implementation: Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR), Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA), Gen to Gen, Legal Aid Justice Center, Westhaven Nursing Clinic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central VA, Sin Barreras, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Charlottesville City Schools, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Department Social Services, Department of Human Services, Albemarle County Office Equity & Inclusion, Blue Ridge Health District, and the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

Media Contact
Misty Graves
Deputy Director
City of Charlottesville
Dept of Human Services/ Community Attention
434-970-3334
graves@charlottesville.gov

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