Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon will appear at Center for the Arts this evening with a message. She wants to shed light on Wyoming’s food insecure. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
In 2018, 37.2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA. In Wyoming, the problem is pervasive yet often unspoken. One in six children struggles with food insecurity here. And in Teton County, one of the richest counties in the nation, 11.6% of the student population receives free and reduced meal support.
Gordon says she launched the Wyoming Hunger Initiative, which is working with organizations across the state to feed Wyoming kids, because of what she learned growing up. “We had enough to eat, but both of my parents were born into poverty and always encouraged us to be grateful for what we had, to never waste anything, and to help others if we ever had the opportunity,” she said.
While she was campaigning across the state for her husband, Governor Mark Gordon, the First Lady ran into a friend who was buying groceries for a food bank program in Sheridan. “I really didn’t realize we had that hunger problem in Wyoming,” Gordon said. When her husband won the election, Gordon said she knew it was time to do something about it.
The First Lady says there are some misconceptions about food insecurity in Wyoming. First, it comes down to raising awareness. A lot of Wyomingites think food insecurity is “a big city issue,” she said.
Listen above for KHOL’s discussion with Gordon.