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From Charity to a Social Justice Funding Model

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We Can’t ‘Foodbank’ Our Way Out of Hunger: From Charity to a Social Justice Funding Model

December 7, 2020 @ 11:00 am 12:30 pm PST

$25 SAFSF Member / $40 Non-member

Join us for a two-part discussion of the contradictions in our food and social welfare systems, and the ways philanthropy can help abate the present-day crisis and demonstrate a long-term commitment to building health, social, environmental, and economic resilience into our food system. Each webinar will include a panel discussion followed by a funder-only strategy session.

Over the past forty years, food charity has captured the social imagination of funders and policymakers eager to resolve the contradictions of a society that produces hunger amidst plenty. Food charity has become normalized to capture the increasing number of people falling through the frayed social safety net. However, this charitable emergency feeding system in the U.S.—the largest and most sophisticated in the world—has historically never been able to meet the demand or even make a real dent in the rate of food insecurity which has hovered at 11-12% for the past 30 years.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 million Americans were already struggling to put food on the table, even as two-thirds of people facing hunger in the U.S. had incomes above the federal poverty line. With the number of food-insecure people in the U.S. expected to climb to 54 million by the end of 2020, it is simply not possible to ‘foodbank’ our way out of hunger. We are witnessing and, in many cases, supporting a private charitable feeding system, with no track record of eliminating hunger even before the pandemic, but which is now pushed to its limits.

A growing membership-based network of emergency food providers (food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries) and allied organizations called Closing the Hunger Gap has emerged to actively engage in changing both the false narratives behind why people are hungry, and the false solutions put forth to address hunger in the United States. This webinar will highlight member organizations creating, piloting, and adapting specific policies and practices that ground solutions to chronic hunger in addressing the social justice issues that created and perpetuate it.

Webinar 1, October 22, 2020: View recording

Presented by WhyHunger


Amy Blumsack, director of organizing & policy, Neighbors Together

Alison Cohen, senior director of programs, WhyHunger (moderator)

Alison Cohen image

Alison is the Senior Director of Programs at WhyHunger, a grassroots support organization providing critical resources to support global social movements and to fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial, and economic justice. We are working to end hunger and advance the right to nutritious food in the US and around the world.

Giovanni Roberto, founder, Comedores Sociales (Community Kitchens)

Christina Wong, public policy and advocacy director, Northwest Harvest

Christina Wong studied social work and policy at the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. She has over 20 years of experience as an advocate for social justice issues, including her work with survivors of interpersonal violence, disability rights, comprehensive immigration reform, and child welfare. Christina provides information and updates on food and nutrition issues and educates state and federal lawmakers about the needs of our clients in order to strengthen and restore our public safety net. She is also the Chair of the steering committee for the Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition. She is a mother of two young girls and loves to cook, knit, and go camping.

Camryn Smith, executive director, Communities in Partnership

Camryn Smith (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a proud resident of Old East Durham and a community activist & organizer. She has been serving in place-based development work for over 18 years both stateside and abroad. Camryn is a founding member of Communities In Partnership (CIP), a grassroots community organizing and education group based in Old East Durham and serves as the Executive Director. CIP focuses on addressing policy and systemic inequity for communities of color and materially poor people within Durham focusing on social determinants of health, economic development, gentrification, and housing. She currently serves as co-chair for Organizing Against Racism- Durham and was the former Co-Chair of Forward Cities Durham- a multi-city two-year collaborative focusing on business development & entrepreneurship for communities of color. Camryn was the 2017 Recipient of Woman of the Year by Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Durham Chapter and is a current RWJF Culture of Health Leader, and was a 2018 Durham Rotary Innovation Fellow as well as a current member of the Racial Equity Taskforce for the City of Durham. Camryn and her husband Ernest, a Civil Rights Attorney currently love, live, and work in Northeast Central Durham. They are the proud parents of five adult children, four of whom currently live in the community, and their Shepherd mix Charli and their Corgi

Areas of Impact:

Equity  |   Food Access  |   Racial Justice  |   Social Justice  |   Fruits and Vegetables  |   Human/Public Health  |   Hunger  |   Nutrition

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