Jamie Kirk Hahn used to read books and watch documentaries about healthy foods and access to fresh produce became a personal passion.
Before Hahn was killed in 2013 at the age of 29, the up-and-coming political strategist planned to find a way to get healthy food to people who needed it, said her husband, Nation Hahn.
Jamie Hahn didn’t have a chance to make that dream a reality, but now organizations working in her memory want to finish the project for her.
The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is working with the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and local group, Clark’s Promise, to host the Fresh Food Challenge. The initiative is seeking ideas from community groups and individuals on how to get fruits and vegetables to the homeless and others who can’t afford it. The winner will receive $25,000 to work the plan.
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“This is the best example of work I know Jamie would have done,” Nation Hahn, co-founder and board president of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, said of the Fresh Food Challenge.
The winning idea will be used at Oak City Outreach, which is run by the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness, and Clark’s Promise, which distributes food at various churches and other sites.
It’s tough for both organizations, which rely heavily on volunteers, to get nutritious food to people, said Alexis Trost, executive director of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation.
Oak City Outreach Center, located near Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, uses about four dozengroups to gather food to distribute and serve, said Shana Overdorf, executive director of the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness.
Nutritious foods tend to be more expensive, and much of the food available to organizations isn’t particularly healthy because it must be non-perishable and easy to prepare, Overdorf said.
“Many of these groups are just very compassionate,” she said. “They’re not a nonprofit with a budget.”
Overdorf has thought about how to provide more fresh meat, fruits and vegetables through the center. She has considered ways to team up with grocery stores and downtown restaurants. There’s also the potential for a food truck system to help with distribution.
“I’m thrilled to have a variety of ideas,” she said.
Jonathan Broyhill, who had been a friend to Jamie and Nation Hahn, was sentenced in March to life in prison for killing Jamie.
Applications for the Fresh Food Challenge will be accepted online through Jan. 29. In February, five finalists will be teamed up with a mentor to work on making a formal pitch, Trost said. A panel of judges will hear the pitches March 10 and pick a winner.
Want to apply?
Organizations and individuals can submit ideas for the Fresh Food Challenge at www.jamiekirkhahnfoundation.org/fresh_food_challenge. Applications must include at least two entities and one must be a nonprofit organization. Applications are due by Jan. 29.