Obesity & The Food System

Paige Volpenhein


Paige joined Star of the Sea Foundation (SOS) in 2018 as a Nutrition Education/Healthy Food Access AmeriCorps VISTA member, focused on developing a hands-on series of children's nutrition lessons through partnerships with schools and after-school and summer programs. She is now SOS’ Community Impact Manager. In her time at SOS, Paige has helped develop the organization's Summer Meals, After school Meals, and Senior Meals programs by overseeing program volunteers, monitoring sites, and helping with administration necessary to secure over $400,000 in annual revenue through reimbursements for providing children and seniors with healthy meals. As a Bloomberg Fellow, Paige will take on additional responsibility at SOS' food pantries, designing data collection systems that will improve current nutrition education programs and position SOS for procurement of additional programmatic funding.

The SOS Foundation, established in 2006, is the largest hunger-relief organization in Monroe County, FL, serving the Florida Keys. The SOS Foundation has built an efficient and sustainable food distribution system, with two large distribution hubs at each end of the county serving 25 food pantries. With U.S. food waste estimated at 30 to 40 percent, SOS works to put all usable food in Monroe County to good use. The SOS fleet of refrigerated trucks picks up donated “salvage” food, and on the same trip, distributes this food to needy residents. To further their impact, SOS established a teaching and production kitchen, which supports nutrition education in schools and communities while also producing hundreds of meals each day in childcare and senior centers across the county under the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

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