26/Nov/19 / 13:56

Annual Hungry for Change Conference Draws Capacity Crowd

Anti-Hunger Conference Offered Information, Connections, and Inspiration


NEW HAVEN, CONN., October 18, 2019 – The three leading anti-hunger organizations in Connecticut joined to present the Hungry for Change last Thursday October 10. More than 120 people were in attendance, representing community-based food assistance programs, academia, community organizers, anti-hunger advocates, faith communities, and government. Hungry for Chane is sponsored by Bank of America.


“Each year, we join with our colleagues at End Hunger CT! and Foodshare to share information with our networks and with others in the community who are committed to fighting hunger and increasing access to opportunities for success,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson. “Knowledge is power and the opportunity to share and network helps to make our voices more powerful together.’


The program included remarks from Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, who updated the audience on the state’s participation in a legal challenge to proposed federal rules changes that would restrict access to food assistance for people seeking citizenship.


“Federal programs that help households meet basic food and nutrition needs are under threat from rules changes like this,” said End Hunger CT! Executive Director Robin Lamott-Sparks. “Proposed changes and implemented changes are chipping away at some of our nation’s most effective programs for lifting people out of poverty.”


Also part of the program was a panel discussion with officials from the state Departments of Social Services, Education, and Agriculture, including Department of Social Services Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford.


“The panel was a great opportunity for us to hear from three agencies with significant roles to play in food security and in creating opportunity for all people in Connecticut,” said Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski. “State regulations and policy play important roles in our work.”


Dr. Jaime S. Foster, Connecticut Food Bank Chief Programs Officer, presented on findings from a study of food insecurity in Connecticut and on using qualitative data from surveys to get the “voices behind the data.” Foodshare Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Katie Martin presented a review of national food insecurity data from Feeding America and the USDA, along with context on data in Connecticut.


A presentation by members of Witnesses to Hunger New Haven Chapter gave conference attendees an opportunity to learn more about grassroots organizing to fight hunger and to bring the voices of people with lived expertise to the table in conversations about hunger and about how to help people move from hunger to food security.


Bank of America Senior Vice President Carol Heller welcomed the conference guests and spoke of the Bank’s commitment to building strong communities where all people have opportunity to thrive. “Food insecurity is bigger than food alone, it’s inextricably linked to broader, more complex issues of economic mobility and systemic poverty. At Bank of America we are investing in efforts to address hunger as a fundamental first step to economic empowerment and success.”


Hungry for Change was held on October 10 at Gateway Community College in New Haven. “We have presented this event previously in Hartford,” said End Hunger CT! Executive Director Robin Lamott-Sparks. “The New Haven location gave additional stakeholders an opportunity to attend this event and to add more voices to the conversation. We are glad to expand the circle of people engaged in fighting hunger in our state.”


“The opportunity to bring our organizations together on common interests will help to make our work more effective and inclusive,” said Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski. “We made valuable connections at this year’s conference.”


“The partnerships we build at events like this help strengthen the safety net in Connecticut for people in need,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson. “We move forward with new energy and new allies.”


In photo at top of page:

At Hungry for Change Conference in New Haven, left to right: End Hunger CT! Executive Director Robin Lamott Sparks, Connecticut Food Bank CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson, Bank of America Sr. Vice President Carol J. Heller, Connecticut Food Bank Board Chair Wes Higgins, and Foodshare President & CEO Jason Jakubowski.


About Hungry for Change:

Hungry For Change is a project of the Connecticut Food Bank, End Hunger Connecticut!, and Foodshare, along with membership of their networks and allies in organizations devoted to human service and community development.