At the end of October, I had the esteemed pleasure to spend a couple of days at the Sunshine Summit to End Hunger in Tampa. Florida Impact to End Hunger proudly co-hosted the event with Bread for the World and Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger.
We were joined by hunger advocates from around the Tampa Bay area and worldwide, including Ellen Vollinger of Food Research & Action Center, Florida State Representative Jennifer Webb of District 69 (pictured), author of I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis Jeremy Everett, Ankit Kawatra and Srishti Jain of Feeding India, along with Fresh from Florida staff, Florida Department of Health staff, Fresh Access Bucks staff, and many more local heroes.
Learning from veteran advocates gave me a well-rounded view of what hunger looks and has looked like in communities, but also how folks pull together for each other.
Some key take-aways for me were:
1. If you want to be a part of a solution to an issue, you must be living within proximity of it.
2. When applying for a grant or stating a project, always have an exit plan. Meaning, will the vulnerable population you are working with be able to sustain the project after it or the grant is over?
3. If data shows you a vulnerable neighborhood in your area, but you don’t know where to start to help, just ask! Folks know what kind of help they need and they don’t want you to re-invent the wheel to do so.
4. After a study was conducted about community gardens, one grad student learned that kids who participated and worked in a community garden became more socially diverse.
5. If you want to be a part of the solution, find the solution and act!
The Sunshine Summit to End Hunger brought so many of us together with one common goal, and I am very hopeful for the future of Florida as we continue to fight for those in need.
Florida Impact to End Hunger