Hunger Has a Different Face: Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

I arrived home from the Anti-Hunger Policy Conference yesterday and I am still reeling from all of the people I have met and projects/programs I learned about.   I still feel completely wrapped in their passion about food.  When I say passion about food, I don’t mean it like my foodie friends checking out the latest restaurants in LA.  When I say passion about food I mean:

Life Changing.  

If you haven't gone to a food distribution, you must.  It is life changing.  The young woman that works at the San Diego “Feeding America” Food Bank who told me at lunch going to a food distribution is a life changing experience and I need to go.  When they have a food distribution, people begin to stand in line at three in the morning if the distribution is at ten in the morning.  While these hungry people stand in line for hours for some food, staff from the food bank visit those in queue and educate them about all of the nutrition programs they may be able to participate in.  Passion About Food.
 

The Client Is Our Child

Educating and feeding children nutritious and healthy meals through child care environments. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors who, in addition to the daily grind, go to community meetings such as Public Health Meetings or City Council Meetings to let people know about that there is a gold standard healthy choice for children in child care.  They volunteer to help with health and wellness projects, apply for grants to create educational materials and programs for child care providers and their parents.  They work together as colleagues and bring more organizations in to get children those healthy meals.  They are impacting generations of our future with their work.  They are people who know that the “child is their client.”  Passion About Food.
 

I wanted to share it with my mom

"Why are you putting food in your pockets?"  A 3rd grader answered, I want to share it with my mom.  The Connecticut Food Bank that has a Kids Back Pack Program in which the school teachers/administrators identify hungry children and through the food bank’s program discretely provide the children with healthy food to take home on the weekends.  The food bank representative told me about a third grade girl who was putting food in her pockets whenever she could.  After the teachers noticed this was a continuous behavior they asked her why.  She said she wanted to take some food home to share with her mom.  Passion About Food.
 

Infants will go hungry

Make the participants of WIC people.  600,000 infants and moms are going to go hungry when the cuts start.  The many concerned about the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program as it is going to be heavily affected by the sequestration.  It did not matter what program was being emphasized or who was talking, the concern about WIC permeated the conference.  53% of the infants in our nation are being fed because of this program.  53 percent.  There were pleas throughout asking people to make the WIC participants human and not just another number.  53 percent.  It doesn’t matter what program you work for or advocate for, figure out how you can put faces to the numbers of the WIC program.  53 percent.  600,000 infants and mothers are going to lose their access to food as the sequestration stands now.  Passion About Food.

Hunger Has A Different Face

It's the family that is making the tough decisions between eating or maintaining a roof over their heads.  The message.  Hunger has a different face.  I heard this line throughout the conference and never really thought about it before that.  But they are right.  Hunger doesn’t only look like the malnourished faces on the commercials asking you to adopt a child to help.  Hunger is also the families who got caught up in the housing debacle and are fighting to keep a roof over their heads.  They are making the tough decisions between eating and feeding their family or keeping a roof over their heads.  I heard this message loud and clear. Passion About Food.

It was a special conference, filled with awe-inspiring people who are eager to make a difference in this world by feeding the hungry in their own backyard.

I Too Have A Passion About Food.

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Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on ChildCareInfo.com is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building ChildCareInfo.com.