Community Salute: Events celebrate the importance of food

Published 5:51 pm Friday, January 20, 2023

This week, a pair of events highlighted two areas that are key to the community.

Both events featured celebrity chef Carla Hall, who brought  a flair to both stops and to be fair, that could have been the story onto itself.

But we are keen to highlight the events themselves because they are important. The first was on Tuesday when Hall made a stop at Hormel Foods World Headquarters to take part in a Hormel employee-driven filling event for the Hometown Food Security Program’s backpack program, which aims to cut down on the food insecurity problems many families face in southeast Minnesota.

The backpack program helps ensure that students in Mower County schools get a proper meal over the weekend when they are away from school, which oftentimes a school meal might be the only meal they get in a day.

The second event celebrated food service workers in Austin’s schools.

These employees play an important role in schools that is often unheralded or goes unseen. Gone are the days when they were simply and unfortunately referred to as the  “lunch lady.” These people ensure that students not only get proper meals, but that they are healthy. Austin Public Schools has one of the best food programs we’ve seen and it’s because of the work of Food and Nutrition Department Director Mary Weikum and her staff.

Both of these events were well worth the attention. It’s vitally important that food remains a staple in people’s lives not only for the health of it, but also for the social aspects of it.

Food is a binder that brings people together and once again we saw that this week.

People came together.