About the Podcast: 

WIC Director Terry Young shares her story as a prior recipient of supplemental programs like WIC, food stamps, and Medicaid. She now uses her experience to show how anyone can fight hunger with empathy and compassion.

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Terry Young

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Her #1 tip to improve access to healthy food:

Hunger is unique for each individual. It doesn’t look like the stereotypical narrative behind those using food supports.

About Terry Young: 

Terry is the Director of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at Maine General Hospital covering Kennebec and Somerset counties. As a prior recipient of WIC, food stamps and Medicaid, she brings with a level of empathy and compassion to her work. Under her watch, all of WIC participants feel dignity and compassion. When her son was a baby, he dealt with chronic ear infections and after almost a year of on-and-off again antibiotics, she knew she could not keep doing this to him. In 1995, she started studying holistic medicine and received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Natural Health Sciences. She had a private practice in Connecticut as a Natural Health Practitioner for a year, where she quickly realized that this was not the demographic that she wanted to work with. She strongly believes all people have the right to good information regarding their wellness through nutrition and healthy cooking, even on a limited income. In 2009, she was hired to develop nutrition workshops for the vulnerable population at a health plan that served families on Medicaid. She brought the first “train the trainer” model of Cooking Matters in the Hartford and New Haven communities. Neighbors are now teaching neighbors how to shop for, cook and consume healthy meals on a limited budget. In her spare time, she loves to cook and work in her vegetable, herb and perennial gardens. She is an herbalist and make specialized formulas for people and animals.

Discussion Takeaways:

  • Hunger can be short-term or long-term.
  • Hunger exists when people have enough to eat but aren’t getting the nutrients they need to survive such as Calcium, Vitamin D, iron, protein, fiber and so much more.
  • The United States spends approximately $53 billion dollars on healthcare costs related to food insecurity.
  • Hunger is unique for each individual. It doesn’t look like the stereotypical narrative behind those using food supports.
  • Hunger doesn’t exist only for those in poverty.
  • Someone can live in poverty and not experience food insecurity because of the food assistance programs in the United States.
  • We all have something to give – a little time, food or a monetary donation. We don’t have to have a large scale plan to help.

Also, remember that sharing is caring