Over the past forty years, food charity has captured the social imagination of funders and policymakers eager to resolve the contradictions of a society that produces hunger amidst plenty. Food charity has become normalized to capture the increasing number of people falling through the frayed social safety net. However, this charitable emergency feeding system in the U.S.—the largest and most sophisticated in the world—has historically never been able to meet the demand or even make a real dent in the rate of food insecurity which has hovered at 11-12% for the past 30 years.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 million Americans were already struggling to put food on the table, even as two-thirds of people facing hunger in the U.S. had incomes above the federal poverty line. With the number of food-insecure people in the U.S. expected to climb to 54 million by the end of 2020, it is simply not possible to ‘foodbank’ our way out of hunger. We are witnessing and, in many cases, supporting a private charitable feeding system, with no track record of eliminating hunger even before the pandemic, but which is now pushed to its limits.
Join us for a two-part discussion of the contradictions in our food and social welfare systems, and the ways philanthropy can help abate the present-day crisis and demonstrate a long-term commitment to building health, social, environmental, and economic resilience into our food system. Each webinar will include a panel discussion followed by a funder-only strategy session.
Part 1: We Can’t ‘Foodbank’ Our Way Out of Hunger
Thursday, October 22, 2020 – 8 am HST /11 am PT / 12 pm MT / 1 pm CT / 2 pm ET (90 minutes)
The first webinar will be a discussion of the anti-hunger landscape and feature concrete examples of the connection between food insecurity and food systems. Speakers will share a newly published philanthropic call to action from the Global Solidarity Alliance, a group of non-governmental organizations, national networks, grassroots activists, and scholars concerned about hunger and poverty in wealthier countries.
Speakers: Alison Cohen, senior director of programs, WhyHunger (moderator) Joshua Lohnes, program director, Food Policy Research, West Virginia University, Center for Resilient Communities Robert Ojeda, chief programs officer, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Shakara Tyler,Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Part 2: From Charity to a Social Justice Funding Model
Monday, December 7, 2020 – 8 am HST / 11 am PT / 12 pm MT / 1 pm CT / 2 pm ET (90 minutes)
A growing membership-based network of emergency food providers (food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries) and allied organizations called Closing the Hunger Gap has emerged to actively engage in changing both the false narratives behind why people are hungry, and the false solutions put forth to address hunger in the United States. This webinar will highlight member organizations creating, piloting and adapting specific policies and practices that ground solutions to chronic hunger in addressing the social justice issues that created and perpetuate it.
Speakers: Alison Cohen, director of U.S. programs, WhyHunger (moderator) Additional speakers coming soon
Additional speakers to be announced in the coming weeks!
Suzanne Babb co-director of U.S. programs, WhyHunger
Suzanne is the Co-Director of U.S. Programs at WhyHunger, a grassroots support organization providing critical resources to support global social movements and to fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial and economic justice. We are working to end hunger and advance the right to nutritious food in the US and around the world..
Alison Cohen senior director of programs, WhyHunger
Alison is the Senior Director of Programs at WhyHunger, a grassroots support organization providing critical resources to support global social movements and to fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial and economic justice. We are working to end hunger and advance the right to nutritious food in the US and around the world.
Joshua Lohnes food policy research director, Food Justice Lab, West Virginia University, Center for Resilient Communities
Joshua studies the moral, political and economic place of food in the wider economy. He is the Food Policy Research director in the Food Justice Lab developing action research projects through data sharing tools and planning resources that support the development of food policy and anti-hunger coalitions in West Virginia and beyond.
Roberto Ojeda chief programs officer, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Robert is the Chief Programs Officer for the Community Food Bank. He was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru, where he grew up farming at his family’s farm. He joined the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFBSA) in 2010, where he is currently Chief Program Officer. In his role, Robert oversees the CFBSA’s programmatic initiatives including hunger relief, and community health, education, and development. Robert has a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development and a Ph. D. in Adult and Extension Education from Cornell University. He has over twenty years of experience doing community organizing work in Arizona and overseas. He regularly teaches community organizing and development workshops to indigenous leaders from Latin America.
Camryn Smith executive director, Communities in Partnership
Camryn is a founding member of Communities In Partnership (CIP), a grassroots community organizing and education group based in Old East Durham and serves as the Executive Director. CIP focuses on addressing policy and systemic inequity for communities of color and materially poor people within Durham focusing on social determinants of health, economic development, gentrification, and housing. She currently serves as co-chair for Organizing Against Racism-Durham and was the former Co-Chair of Forward Cities Durham, a multi-city two-year collaborative focusing on business development & entrepreneurship for communities of color.