Local nonprofits put Wyoming’s First Lady to work during visit this week

(Fremont County, WY) – Wyoming’s First Lady Jennie Gordon visited several local organizations and businesses this week to discuss her Wyoming Hunger Initiative (WHI) grant impacts as well as continued program expansion.

The WHI grants were awarded in 2020 to anti-hunger nonprofits around Fremont County to support their infrastructure for sustainable solutions to address food insecurity. In addition, the Grow a Little Extra program recently launched under the WHI umbrella to encourage gardeners to grow an extra row or two for donation.

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First Lady Jennie Gordon arrived on May 18th and started the tour at the Lander Care and Share Food Bank (LCSFB) yesterday afternoon. She toured their building and discussed their work within the community, challenges and changes over the past year, and future plans. LCSFB Director Audrey Krise, and Board Members Gail Black, Janet Pickerd, Kae Concannon, Camille Phillips, Jim Massman, and Deanna Trumble were all in attendance during her visit.

The LCSFB currently provides emergency food assistance for around 1,000 Fremont County residents on a monthly basis and has served the community for over 30 years. The grant funds they received helped pay for much-needed refrigeration. More information about LCSFB can be found on their Facebook page.

The Pushroot Community Garden was next up and within 20 minutes of arrival, Board Member Monty Hettich had First Lady Jennie Gordon gardening.

The grant PCG received helped cover the cost of a few raised garden beds. Those beds are dedicated to the Grow a Little Extra donation program and will go to those in need.

County 10 Photo – (L-R) First Lady Jennie Gordon, Board Member Monty Hettich, Board President Tony Baeten, and Board Member Leslie Jacobs

The Pushroot Community Garden is currently 40 members strong, Monty shared, but they are still seeking 9 more gardeners. Those interested in becoming a member are encouraged to call Monty at (307) 760-7131 or Tony at (307) 332-6824. You can also reach out through their Facebook page.

Day one rounded out at the CWC Community Garden in Riverton with representatives from Wind River Grow Our Own 307, the University of Wyoming’s Extension Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) and Fremont County Master Gardeners.

As part of learning about Wind River Grow Our Own 307, Co-Founder Darrah Perez-Good Voice Elk, and two of her recently hired employees, Reno Quiver and Conrad Tillman, had First Lady Jennie Gordon put together a garden box out of repurposed wood that will go to a local community member.

County 10 Photo – Jennie Gordon helps put together a garden box with Darrah Perez-Good Voice Elk, Reno Quiver and Conrad Tillman

170 garden boxes were made with the help of the WHI grant, Darrah shared.

Getting the boxes and supplies such as soil to residents has been a collaborative effort between CNP, Master Gardeners and Grow Our Own.

In attendance from CNP yesterday was Director Mindy Meuli and Marketing Coordinator Kali McCrackinGoodenough, both based in Laramie.

Kali shared, CNP helped provide soil for the boxes as well as master gardener classes. She also noted Darrah is one of their newest CNP educators.

Fremont County Master Gardener Dana Hinkle not only helps answer gardening questions but makes sure folks who would like a box get one.

The CWC Community Garden also has an area dedicated to Grow a Little Extra which is maintained by Grow Our Own.

Learn more about Wind River Grow Our Own 307 by clicking here.

County 10 Photo – First Lady Jennie Gordon with Wind River Grow Our Own 307 Co-Founder Darrah Perez-Good Voice Elk

The Fremont County visit continued today, May 19th, and began at the Foundations for Nations Pantry in Riverton.

Their pantry opened two years ago and serves over 1,000 residents monthly. They are also the only local TEFAP distribution site and offer a large-scale monthly food distribution to anyone in need.

County 10 Photo – First Lady Jennie Gordon with Foundations for Nations Co-Founder Sarah Lucas

Foundations for Nations Co-Founder Sarah Lucas shared during the visit today the WHI grant money went to refrigeration, adding food storage racks and utility carts.

In addition to providing food for the community, they also have a clothing closet for anyone in need.

Learn more about Foundations for Nations by clicking here.

The remainder of the Fremont County visit was with local processing facility Riverton Packing and the National Museum of Military Vehicles in Dubois. Both were focused on partnership discussions and expanding the initiative.

County 10 will share any updates about the Wyoming Hunger Initiative as they come available.

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