Carolyn Bogott: Tammy Snee shares with the community

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Tammy Snee lives by the philosophy that if you have something to share, you should share it. One of the things that she has to share is an amazing skill to help people collaborate in working on a problem. Her degrees in political science and nursing have come together to give her a unique voice in community leadership and service. She sees her lifelong mission to be an advocate for people who need a link to resources that will lead to a better life.

Tammy was part of the inspiration for the Hometown Food Security Coalition of Mower County, a two-year-old entity working to reduce food insecurity in Mower County. In collaboration with many interested community partners the goal was set, “to ensure no one goes hungry in Mower County.” Tammy and her family have partnered with Baylor University to endow a professor for their Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. Dr. Craig Gundersen is a leading researcher on food insecurity, and he has taken an active interest in the work occurring in Mower County. Through the contacts Tammy has had as board member of this Baylor Collaborative, she has come to understand how multifaceted poverty and food insecurity are and why a collective impact approach is necessary.

Also through collaboration with Baylor University a “blueprint for study and action” has been available to the Mower County coalition and has been activated through the good work of many local entities. With Hormel Foods as the convener and United Way has providing leadership, Mayo Clinic Health System, Salvation Army, The Parenting Resource Center, Austin Public Schools, Mower County Health and Human Services and the Mower County Senior Center have all joined the effort. This local coalition has spent considerable time assessing the community leading to a report you can find on Hometownfoodsecurity.org. The first immediate response they were able to provide was help with cooks and volunteers to serve the Salvation Army free meals at a time when they were without a cook.

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Several more far-reaching plans are now underway. The coalition has been able to identify “food deserts” and with the Salvation Army is planning for a mobile food unit to serve those areas. Another action group is focused on increasing understanding of SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) and helping with applications. The goal is to educate and empower people to utilize services as a bridge to self-sufficiency. And the coalition wants to help recruit and retain volunteers for all related programs.

Tammy is impatient with the sometimes-slow pace of the work, but her mentors remind her that change takes time and collective impact work must be carried out in an intentional manner to assure that everyone is heard, and their feedback valued.

Tammy is also acutely aware of the dire needs in mental health care in our area. She has been involved in staff recognition and support at Nexus Gerard and has assisted them in accessing grants for their recent building program. She points out that Nexus Gerard expertly serves local children and families, not just those from other locations. “These are our kids. They deserve our support.”

A third area of Tammy’s concern is nursing home care. She serves on the board of Sacred Heart and is very interested in providing appreciation and further education for the employees there and in other long term care facilities in the county.

Combining her interest in food insecurity and education, Tammy is working with Austin Public schools to become involved in the World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa. They have a Youth Institute involving students researching and writing a paper on global challenges relating to hunger and food insecurity. Tammy has teamed up with Amy Sheehan from Hormel and Andrea Malo at Austin high School to get our students involved in this amazing educational opportunity.

With a spirit of humility, Tammy said, “When much is given, much is expected.” She wants to use what she has been given to sow seeds of support and sharing in many directions. Gema Alvarado Guerrero said of Tammy, “When there is a need in the community, her passion to make a difference shines through and ignites a fire in those around her to get involved in the efforts as well.”

Thank you, Tammy Snee, for sharing your passion and skill in networking to better our community!