April 29, 2011

We Join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in the fight to end hunger

We had an honor of a visit today: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack came to Bread for the City.

"It's amazing what's being done here," Secretary Vilsack told us. "You are doing phenomenal work, making a difference in the lives of people every day."

The Secretary was here to announce important new federal anti-hunger initiatives. More than 50 million Americans are "food insecure" (in other words, they struggle daily to acquire nutritionally adequate food). Here in DC, one in eight people are food insecure, including two out of every five children.

"These are friends and neighbors, folks we know," said Secretary Vilsack.

It's an outrage. And it's a complex problem with no easy solutions. However, Secretary Vilsack and I both agree: the solutions are there. It's just up to us to make them work.

So let's get started. Will you stand with us?

Today, Secretary Vilsack unveiled new USDA resources like an anti-hunger tool kit for community leaders like us, and an online commitment drive for pledges of anti-hunger action. "It's necessary for the community to get engaged to ensure that these youngsters are not left alone," said the Secretary.

See more about these USDA initiatives at their new website: Endhunger.USDA.gov

We've been working long and hard to end hunger. Bread for the City now offers food assistance to more than 23,000 people in a year, making us the largest food pantry in DC. With the hard work of Americorps members and volunteers like you, we've launched initiatives like Glean for the City to great success, reaping tens of thousands of pounds of surplus produce that now goes to the tables of the hungry instead of to waste.

But providing food to the hungry is just the start.

In recent years, we've helped to successfully lobby the District government to expand eligibility for food stamps in our city. Through cooking classes, we are actively promoting change at home. And our rooftop garden project is creating a vision of a healthy, green community right above us.

We know we can't do it alone. It's up to all of us. As Secretary Vilsack said today, "It’s not just the responsibility of the volunteers of the country, or the non-profits of the country, or the Department of Agriculture. It’s our individual responsibility to be engaged." That's why our clients and staff have joined 35 organizations, coalitions, and passionate individuals around the city to call for the creation of a formal food systems network in DC.

And there are so many ways we can push for a hunger-free community -- and they all start with you. So will you answer Secretary Vilsack's call? Stand with the USDA, Americorps, Bread for the City and your fellow neighbors as we work together to eliminate hunger from our cities.

Make a donation today, as we champion the effort for a hunger-free community.

Stay tuned for more reports from today's exciting event. Meanwhile, join the DC Food For All google group if you'd like to learn about how to work for food justice right here in the District today.

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