The Iowa Food Summit took place today in Des Moines, IA leading up to the opening of this year’s World Food Prize. Following the Summit, several national nonprofits launched a new campaign, Vote to End Hunger (VTEH), an effort to urge 2016 presidential candidates to focus on ending hunger, alleviating poverty and creating global opportunity.
“Throughout the world, countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Great Britain have made tremendous strides in reducing hunger. However, in the United States, we have seen little progress over the past several decades. That is because our nation has not made solving hunger a priority,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World during a press conference to launch the VTEH campaign. “We need to vote for leaders who care about ending hunger, so the next president and Congress will work together and solve it.”
In the U.S., 1 out of every 7 households – more than 48 million Americans – struggle to put food on the table. These numbers include 5.4 million seniors and 15 million children while around the world, 795 million people experience hunger every day. This is a significant but solvable problem said VTEH organizers who also noted that the resources needed to end hunger are already available.
The impact of hunger reaches far beyond just those families and individuals who experience it and Iowan Jamy Rentschler shared her family’s personal struggle with hunger as she grew up. Hunger affects children differently than adults and can affect their brain development and led to higher risks of developing chronic health issues.
As noted by Lisa Davis, senior vice president of government relations for Feeding America, consumers need to reach out to potential candidates and ask the question of how they plan to end hunger. Iowans are being courted by nearly two dozen candidates and she said Iowans have a lot of opportunity to interact with them.
“So when you do, ask them, ‘If you were elected, what will you do to end hunger, alleviate poverty and create opportunity in the U.S. and worldwide?'” said Davis who also encouraged consumers to reach out with the same question via Twitter and campaign Facebook pages.
Along with Jamy Rentschler, other participants in the press conference including:
- Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World (Moderator)
- Bishop Richard E. Pates, Diocese of Des Moines, Roman Catholic Church
- Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Feeding America
Listen to the full Vote to End Hunger press conference here: Vote to End Hunger Campaign Launch
Additional organizations supporting VTEH include Alliance to End Hunger, Catholic Charities USA, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels America, RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, and Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry.