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.
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.