CMPC receives grant to combat hunger

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
Shown, from left, are Audrey Seeliger, Avedis Foundation program officer; Avedis Program Director Tracy Meeuwsen; Whitney Steele, CMPC board member; Phyllis Bolt, CMPC board chair; Avedis President Dr. Kathy Laster; CMPC Executive Director Daniel Matthews; and CMPC board members Annie Minnigh, Nikki Watters, Sonya McDaniel and Kelli Adams.

This week the Avedis Foundation announced it has issued a $151,600 grant to Community Market of Pottawatomie County (CMPC) to help it continue its mission to end hunger in the area.

CMPC, at 120 S. Center in Shawnee, strives to work with people to gain resources, to connect them to partner organizations that have the resources or to help them get into a position where food insecurity is no longer an issue.

Community Market offers healthy foods that include fresh produce and proteins that are often not available due to economic restraints.

“The Avedis Foundation is honored to support the mission of the Community Market of Pottawatomie County,” Avedis Foundation President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “(CMPC Executive Director) Daniel Matthews, along with his board of directors, staff and the many volunteers, are dedicated to meet the needs of thousands in our community.”

This proved evident back in March when COVID-19 forced the Market to close their doors to walk-in clients, she said.

“Daniel and his staff worked tirelessly to transition services into a drive by model so that clients were still being served,” Laster said. “This dedication clearly enforces the commitment of CMPC to those that need them most in our community.”

Feeding America Hunger Study data shows more than 20 percent of our community lives on the edge of hunger.

Local data confirms those numbers.

In an unduplicated count, CMPC served 18,164 individuals in 2019. That was made up of more than 15,000 Pottawatomie County residents representing 22 percent of the county’s population.

“Avedis has consistently shown they care about ending hunger in our community,” CMPC Executive Director Daniel Matthews said. “This partnership allows us to continue to expand our efforts to make sure no one has to go to bed hungry in Pottawatomie County.”

CMPC continues to build a network of services, both in house and external that allow guests to improve self-sufficiency and quality of life.

Representing more than 8.3 million meals, in October this year CMPC marked a milestone of serving 10,000,000 pounds of food since the market opened.

While the average guest visits CMPC three and a half times per year, the COVID-19 pandemic and related employment issues have shown how many people go in and out of food insecurity.

CMPC works with DHS, schools and other organizations to identify those who need help. Flexible days of service and long open hours improve access to services.