No Kid Should Dread the Weekend–or Summer

by Ed Nicholson

Note: I’ve decided to go back and repost some things from years past that are still timely. This one originally posted in June of 2010. It remains relevant as we approach the end of the school year. Ed

As I post this on Friday afternoon, tens of thousands of kids at risk of hunger around the country are being sent home from school with backpacks full of food thanks to innovative programs such as the one Janet Kniffin, Chief Development Officer for the Connecticut Foodbank, describes in the video above. Were it not for these programs, many would go hungry over the weekend, since school lunches are their primary source of nutrition.

Soon school will be out for the summer. What happens then? Many communities have solutions. Many don’t.

Do your local schools have backpack programs? If not, what happens during the summer?

Where’s the online discussion of hunger? Year five.

Hunger DiscussionFive years ago, excited about the possibilities social channels offered to fostering a healthy national discussion about hunger, I posted a piece in this blog entitled “Where’s the Online Discussion About Hunger?”    

There’s a tremendous hunger community in this country.   I’ve learned so much from them over the past thirteen years, and am always interested in being part of the stimulating discussion that can occur when two or more get together.

But that discussion just doesn’t seem to be happening online.

I learned a lot of what I know about PR from the CompuServe PR forum.  It was a great community of folks, always involved in rich discussion, moderated by people who truly knew the business.

I’m a musician.  I love to talk about music, musical equipment, production techniques and such.   I’ve spent countless hours and learned a ton in a community created in The Gear Page forum.

Want to learn about Toyota 4-Runners ?    Soccer?    Bodybuilding?   There’s a vibrant discussion going on somewhere about almost anything you can think about.

Hunger?  Maybe not so much.

Isn’t hunger as important as all these things?  Where’s the discussion/community?     If there isn’t one, why the heck not?   Hunger folks are intelligent and passionate.   Normally not afraid to express their opinions. I ask again: Is this discussion occurring somewhere of which I’m not aware?

Who Says Students Don’t Care About Hunger?

Universities  Fighting World HungerGuest post by Kelly Nuckolls

Students and faculty from more than 50 colleges, universities, and hunger groups from across the United States and seven countries attended the 8th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Food Summit in Overland Park, Kansas, March 2nd-4th. This was the first time the event was hosted by a coalition of institutions. Under the leadership of Kansas Campus Compact, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas Independent College Association, the entire sector of higher education in Kansas came together to plan the Summit, with the goal of “Raising the Volume.”

The volume was raised throughout the weekend as students, faculty, administrators, political officials, and hunger relief organizations from all over the world came together at the Food Summit to share best practice models; listen to keynote addresses from Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive, Dr. Alastair Summerlee of the University of Guelph, and Max Finberg of the U. S. Department of Agriculture; all with the goal of ending hunger by empowering the younger generation.

I am proud as a Kansas college student to have been a part of the collaborative efforts to raise the volume all weekend long. The conference motivated and inspired us to make our noise heard –college students will eliminate hunger in our lifetime. Mike Giancola of North Carolina State University stated at the final closing session that he hoped in twenty years we would no longer be meeting at a Hunger Summit. The work being done at higher education institutions worldwide reassures that this will happen. Students, faculty, and administrators are continuing to increase campus efforts to address hunger in new and innovative ways that provide students with the opportunities and resources to fix this global problem.

As the three-day event came to an end, attendees were called to action. Students were reminded of the importance of everyday acts of citizenship that can make an impact in the world. I had the opportunity to demonstrate to the conference how simple political action can be, even for a student, by making a call over speaker phone to Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) (watch it now by clicking here). The goal was to show conference attendees how simple it is to engage in efforts that will put an end to starvation and hunger across the globe.

Conference attendees responded to the call to action. The day after the conference, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), proposed a 36 billion dollar cut to SNAP (food stamps). The volume of the Food Summit was heard in Washington D.C.—approximately 130 attendees made the call to Senator Roberts office to be a voice for the hungry.

Answer the call by learning more about this unique learning experience and the opportunity to become a global leader in the fight against hunger, as well as the efforts made toward ending hunger at the 2013 UWFH Food Summit. I encourage viewing the conference material on the 8th Annual Food Summit website. Check out the re-cap video made by Fort Hays State University student Becca Kohl by clicking here. Now is the time to raise the volume in every corner of the earth to making ending hunger a priority.

Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) is the catalyst for over 300 chapter colleges and universities who engage in international programming across the globe to make fighting hunger a core value of higher education institutions worldwide.

 Kelly Nuckolls is a student at Fort Hays State University and member of the UFWH planning committee.






Now Let Us Give Thanks #FoodThanks

For the third year in a row, the AgChat Foundation is leading an effort to generate awareness and gratitude for those who put food on our tables.  If you’d like to learn more about it, go over to #FoodThanks. Here’s my post from the first year. I think it’s still relevant:

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a tremendous family, good health, and live in the best country in the world. Lots for which to be thankful. I also have one of the best jobs in the world. Every day, my job reminds me of how thankful I should be. You see, neither I nor any of my family has ever gone hungry.

While I stand on a high hill watching people being fed, I also get to look in another direction and get a panoramic view of food being grown, produced and taken to market. Because I know how many people and how much work is involved in that process, it’s easy for me to be grateful for the Thanksgiving meal I’ll share with my family this year.

I’m thankful for the farmers, no matter their size and production techniques. Without them, none of us would be fed. Farming’s hard work that takes a commitment that goes way beyond that of simply making a living.

I’m thankful for the people who pick up, process and deliver food to market. Also hard work, often with very thin margins, and certainly no guarantees of success. Some of them are my own teammates, so I get to see up close and personal how passionate they are about feeding people. I’m humbled and honored to be able to share the products of their hard work.

I’m thankful for people in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, restaurants, institutional kitchens, food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens—anywhere food is conveyed to those of us who will consume it.

I’m thankful that we live in a country that produces a bounty of food. I’m hopeful we’ll continue to explore new ways that bounty can be shared among those who don’t have enough. I’m also hopeful that any changes we make in the way we produce food will allow us to continue to feed our country, in addition to many across the globe.

Now let us give thanks.