This post was initially published by our partners at Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Wendy’s issues statement on boycott after months of silence. Silence was better.
As we write this on Wednesday evening, the nation prepares (and by “prepares” we mean curls into the fetal position on the couch in front of the TV…) for the third and final presidential debate.
But if you are like us and happened to catch Wendy’s new statement on the Fair Food movement’s national boycott, published yesterday on an obscure public relations blog dedicated to the discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility, then you were treated to a sort of pre-debate hors d’oeuvres plate, a similar mix of cheap innuendo, half-truths, and outright fabrications, just in smaller bites.
In any event, now that the Wendy’s statement is out there, we face the thankless task of responding to mountains of misinformation without just throwing up our hands and walking off stage. We’ll do our level best.
Before we get started, you should first read Wendy’s statement, entitled “When the Easy Answer Isn’t the Right One,” by Wendy’s Senior Vice President for Communications, Liliana Esposito, for yourself. Go ahead, we’ll wait…
Ok, here we go.
Let’s start with the cheap innuendo…
And it happens to be the one passage Wendy’s chose to bold in the entire statement. It reads:
So why does CIW have a problem with Wendy’s? Because we buy a lot of tomatoes for which they don’t receive any money. The Fair Food program primarily operates in Florida and Wendy’s does not currently purchase tomatoes in Florida… and that’s at the heart of these protests.
Anyone without knowledge of how the Fair Food Program actually works reading this bolded passage would reasonably conclude that, a) when participating buyers pay the Penny-per-Pound premium on purchases of Florida tomatoes, that money goes to the CIW, and, b) Fair Food protests were designed solely to force companies to pay money to the CIW. Wendy’s strongly implies that the protests are not motivated by the imperative of social and economic justice for the workers who pick Wendy’s tomatoes, but are rather some sort of elaborate corporate shakedown.
This is a recycled version of the accusation made by a former corporate vice president of Burger King (right) during that campaign back in 2008. Using his daughter’s online alias to post comments anonymously, the Burger King executive wrote of the CIW’s campaign and the protests:
“The CIW is an attack organization lining the leaders pockets … They make up issues and collect money from dupes that believe their story. To (sic) bad the people protesting don’t have a clue regarding the facts. A bunch of fools!” read more
His words echoed the approach of Burger King’s CEO at the time, John Chidsey, who made similar statements in public to those made online above:
Chidsey delivered a lecture at his alma mater, Davidson College, and made statements almost identical to the ones now linked to Grover. Chidsey said of dealing with CIW, “The union said the money has to go in the union coffers and ‘we’ll decide what’s better for the workers.’” read more
Of course, even casual observers of Campaign for Fair Food history know how that chapter turned out. The executive vice president responsible for the anonymous comments was fired, Burger King signed a Fair Food agreement with the CIW and is today an important partner in the Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program, and the CEO made the following statement in the joint press release announcing the company’s agreement with the CIW:
“We are pleased to now be working together with the CIW to further the common goal of improving Florida tomato farmworkers’ wages, working conditions and lives. The CIW has been at the forefront of efforts to improve farm labor conditions, exposing abuses and driving socially responsible purchasing and work practices in the Florida tomato fields. We apologize for any negative statements about the CIW or its motives previously attributed to BKC or its employees and now realize that those statements were wrong. Today we turn a new page in our relationship and begin a new chapter of real progress for Florida farmworkers.” read more
That history might profitably serve as a cautionary tale for any Wendy’s communications executives who might be contemplating further exercises like the cheap innuendo bolded in today’s statement.
And now for the outright fabrications…
The Wendy’s statement also displays little concern for the truth. It claims:
“… The CIW requires participants to pay an additional fee directly to the tomato harvesters that work for the growers, on top of the price we already pay for the product… but we don’t believe we should pay another company’s employees”
“…the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an activist group that represents tomato harvesters in the Immokalee region of Florida…. Where we differ with the CIW is in their belief that we should focus on a single group of people – in this case, tomato harvesters in one region in Florida.”
Participating Buyers do not pay farmworkers directly. The Penny-per-Pound premium appears as a separate line item on a buyer’s invoice or is built into the price (as the buyer prefers), and so is paid to the growers through regular business channels. It is then pooled by each grower with the premium payments of other Program buyers and distributed by the grower to its workers in the form of a bonus, through regular payroll channels. In fact, Participating Buyers have no direct contact of any kind with workers in the FFP. [Again, like the innuendo echoing Burger King’s earlier missteps, this one isn’t even original, but simply borrowed from Publix’s tired bag of public relations tricks — “However, we will not pay employees of other companies directly for their labor” — and thrown out there in hope that it might fool anyone new to the campaign.]
The CIW’s Fair Food Agreements cover nearly 35,000 workers in seven states, not “one region of Florida” and one crop as Wendy’s statement would have it. Today the Fair Food Program operates along most of the East Coast (in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey) and in three crops (tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries).
And finally the half-truths…
First, a small, but not insignificant one:
“It sounds simple enough, and you may wonder why we have resisted this demand, particularly since some of our competitors joined the Fair Food Program after they were protested by the group.”
Of course, all of Wendy’s key competitors — McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell, and Chipotle — have joined the Fair Food Program, not “some.” At this point, Wendy’s is deriving a real competitive cost advantage from fostering farmworker poverty in its supply chain by refusing to join the FFP.
But the following half-truth is perhaps the most significant passage of the entire statement. Here’s how Wendy’s describes the company’s efforts to monitor its supply chain in Mexico — a country, it bears repeating, whose produce industry was the subject of a horrifying four-part series by the LA Times just two years ago that exposed widespread human rights violations ranging from endemic child labor and sexual assault to unimaginable living conditions and even modern-day slavery:
All of our suppliers, including those in Mexico, are subject to the same quality and food safety standards, and we actively perform over 1,000 audits annually against those standards. We spend a LOT of time with our suppliers and their teams – on farms, in fields, in processing houses, and with distributors – it’s truly a farm to fork commitment for us. Our professionals are constantly on the road visiting or auditing suppliers because we believe that’s the best way to ensure that our standards are being upheld. I believe that our team of road warriors is the absolute best in the business.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Every Wendy’s supplier must go through a rigorous certification process, voluntarily participating in a whole host of auditing processes. We visit the farms and ranches where our fresh produce grows (iceberg, romaine, spring mix, tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, etc.) in order to assess quality and food safety, and to ensure everyone in that operation – from business leaders to farm workers – understands and follows good and safe agricultural practices. We have a comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct which requires our suppliers – for tomatoes and everything else we buy – to adhere to high standards for integrity and business practices.
In context, Wendy’s statement strongly suggests that its auditing processes in Mexico and its freshly minted code of conduct are the equivalent of the Fair Food Program’s monitoring and enforcement of human rights and the Fair Food Code of Conduct. The statement doesn’t come right out and say that, of course, because to make that patently false claim would be laughable on its face and far too easy to debunk. But by repeating, and repeating, and repeating… how much time their “team of road warriors” spends visiting their suppliers, one is left with the impression that any violations of human rights would naturally come to light during their “quality and food safety” dragnet.
But that’s not how human rights monitoring and enforcement works. In fact, when read carefully, the statement does not even pretend that Wendy’s audits for workers’ human rights. Despite significant emphasis on their auditing efforts in Mexico, even Wendy’s can’t bring itself to claim that fundamental labor and civil rights — which are the central focus of the Fair Food program — play any meaningful role in the company’s auditing process. And that’s why this half-truth ultimately falls short, because the effort to equate “quality and food safety” audits with the kind of in-depth, worker-driven, market-enforced human rights audits at the heart of the Fair Food Program just won’t hold water, and even Wendy’s knows it.
Meanwhile, here’s the truth about the Fair Food Program: The Fair Food Program is the most effective, indeed transformative, 21st century paradigm for the protection of human rights in corporate supply chains. It has been recognized by human rights observers from the United Nations to the White House, the US State Department, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and the Department of Labor. The Program has been acclaimed by two former presidents, and most recently received the Presidential Medal for “extraordinary efforts in combating human trafficking” from President Obama. Moreover, leading academic researchers have called the Program “the best workplace-monitoring Program” in the U.S.; “the best working environment in American agriculture,” and most recently, “substantially more successful than other corporate compliance programs.”
In short, whatever it is the company audits in Mexico, Wendy’s monitoring program doesn’t hold a candle to the Fair Food Program.
WhyHunger and Hunger Is are proud to support breakfast programs in NJ.
The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition is co-chair of the Food for Thought Campaign which has successfully increased the number of low income students eating breakfast by 75 percent. When the campaign began five years ago, New Jersey was 46th in the country for students receiving a free school breakfast. Adele LaTourette, the Coalition’s Director worked with Campaign co-chair, Advocates for Children of NJ, to form a broad based grassroots coalition that included parents, educators, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and several other local and statewide hunger/poverty organizations. National campaign partners are the Food Research and Action Center, and the American Dairy Association and Council.
The campaign also works with the New Jersey Department of Education to promote “After the Bell” breakfasts. Most schools were offering breakfast before school starts and the response was sparse because of the time. The coalition promoted Breakfast in the Classroom and “Grab and Go” which the Department of Education deemed as instructional time, the best of both worlds- eat and learn.
Because of the efforts of this broad based coalition, more than 100,000 additional children now have free breakfast in the classroom and New Jersey is ranked 23rd in the nation, a far cry from 46th but still not good enough. The Food for Thought Campaign is continuing its work and is targeting school districts with the lowest participation rates. The Campaign is also expanding its efforts, working to ensure that every child in New Jersey has access to a healthy meal, three times a day, 365 days a year. These efforts focus on targeted communities in New Jersey and expanding community access to both the summer food service program and the after school supper program.
This is an excellent example of a grassroots movement that also involves government and businesses such as the Dairy Council and never gives up.
This article is a report back on the 8th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize that was originally published by the Community Alliance for Global Justice. Photos by Colette Cosner, Feed the Hood, Johanna Lundahl and Community to Community Development.
Last week, representatives of over 20 organizations gathered in Seattle and Bellingham for several days of dialogue, action, and celebration of the growing food sovereignty movement. The Encounter, co-hosted by Community Alliance for Global Justice and Community to Community Development, was a national gathering of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA). On Saturday, we honored Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and Farmworkers Association of Florida as recipients of the 8th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize, awarded by the USFSA.
As an alternative to the World Food Prize awarded the same weekend in Iowa, the Food Sovereignty Prize recognizes that transformation of our food system comes from the grassroots, frontlines, and communities building power – not corporate, biotech, and Big Ag industries focused on profit over people and the planet. Coming together for the Prize and events was an opportunity to reflect on strengthening our organizing and advocacy for agroecology, food as a human right, dignity for workers across the food chain, and community-led solutions to hunger and climate change.
With banners and signs reflecting messages of the movement in the center of a circle, folks gathered Wednesday night and Thursday at the WA State Labor Council to discuss the current political moment of the USFSA and the new methodology being proposed for building up grassroots leadership and regional structure in the Alliance. Present were both members and non-members of the USFSA, including the local hosts and local groups Got Green, UFCW 21, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, WA State Food Systems Roundtable, WA Sustainable Food and Farming Network; and groups throughout the US: CATA – The Farmworkers Support Committee (NJ, MD, PA), Climate Justice Alliance, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (MI), Dreaming Out Loud (D.C.), Family Farm Defenders (WI), Farmworker Association of Florida (FL), Food First (CA), Grassroots International (MA), National Family Farm Coalition (D.C.), Presbyterian Hunger Program (KY), Rural Community Workers Alliance (MO), Soil Generation (PA), Southwest Organizing Project/Project Feed the Hood (NM), US Friends of the MST (IL), VietLead (PA), and WhyHunger (NY). International groups included: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and La Via Campesina.
In the roundtable meetings, including an added final session on Saturday, important issues around defining “grassroots” and “grassroots-support” organizations and their roles, regional autonomy, and value of the USFSA were discussed, as well as lifting up the interconnected struggles between AFSA and USFSA.
Gates Foundation Action
The gathering would not have been complete without an action and visits to local organizing and food justice work. On Thursday afternoon, attendees and other activists mobilized outside of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise issue with the Foundation’s deep ties to the World Food Prize, which includes significant financial contributions to half of the 2016 winners and nearly $1.5 million in funding since 2009. Gates exports a model of market-based, high-tech agricultural investments and genetic engineering and biotechnology. In an interview with Humanosphere on the action, Bern Guri, Chairman of AFSA who came to receive the Prize on its behalf, says: “Food sovereignty is about farmers’ communities being in charge, being able to produce the food they want to produce, to be able to use the seed that they want to grow, to be able to share their seeds among themselves, to be able to use the technologies that they believe work for them.”
Food Sovereignty Tours
The next day, the attendees traveled to Skagit Valley to be welcomed by Community to Community Development and farmworkers’ union Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) with a presentation on the recent victories of winning an historic union contract as the state’s first indigenous-led farmworker union and getting to the contract negotiation process with Sakuma Farms, which sells to the world’s largest berry distributer, Driscoll’s. Ramon Torres, President of FUJ, shared the history of the organizing and the hopes for the future, followed by a tour of the Sakuma fields and labor camps where farmworkers live. A surprise visit with one of the main plaintiffs of the law suit against Sakuma happened just before folks drove to Bellingham to meet with a local co-op that supported the Driscoll’s boycott.
Saturday’s weather forecast of the “storm of the century” caused a shift of plans, despite the mild outcome. A tour of the Beacon Food Forest remained in the program, where folks visited the local urban forest garden working to improve public health and food access.
Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony
The main event of the Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony was cancelled at Town Hall due to the threat of wind storms and power outages, and relocated to the home of CAGJ’s Director Heather Day, where the show went on in a more intimate setting, and was livestreamed on Facebook.
The ceremony opened with storytelling from Roger Fernandes, a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians, sharing about the connection of food to our ancestors, our people, and those yet to come. After a keynote by John Peck, representing La Via Campesina, the 2016 recipients were awarded, both giving enthusiastic and powerful remarks: Elvira Carvajal on behalf of Farmworker Association of Florida, and Bern Guri on behalf of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. The evening concluded with a lively reception, music, and celebration.
Taking back control of our food system!
In a time of increasing corporate domination of agriculture, nutrition, and food systems worldwide, as seen by the recent $66 billion proposed merger of Bayer and Monsanto, the strength and visibility of the global movement for food sovereignty becomes ever more important. In the US, farmworkers continue to struggle for better working conditions, living wages, and dignity; poor, working-class, and people of color continue to organize for food justice and access; and advocates of family and small farmers continue to push for fairer policies. Together, we are all working to take back control of the food system at every level – from saving seeds to supporting farmworker unions, from people-of-color led initiatives addressing community self-reliance to international solidarity against corporate control of seeds and agriculture. Onward, together!
This spotlight is a feature of WhyHunger’s digital storytelling that showcases grassroots organizations and community leaders through dynamic stories and pictures, to give a real view of projects that are working to alleviate food insecurity and increase communities’ access to nutritious food. We believe that telling one’s story is not only an act of reclaiming in the face of the dominant food narrative of this country, but also an affirmation that the small acts of food sovereignty happening across the country add up to a powerful, vital collective. Up today: Indian Health Care Resources: Food For Life; Tulsa, OK. Story and photos by David Hanson.
Ms Campbell’s Earth Science classroom in McClain Junior/Senior Magnet High School looks huge and spotless without the students in it. They’ve gone home for the day. The tools of the modern high school science lab are everywhere: gas outlets and computers on the wide, black desks, microscopes in back, the chemical shower for emergencies. Ms Campbell uses all this to teach her courses, but one of the best parts of her curriculum is in the garden and greenhouse just outside the school’s walls. That’s where the students can get their hands dirty, breathe fresh air while learning, even go find relief and escape from the realities of north Tulsa’s harsh neighborhoods.
Behind the McClain building, tucked into a nook of the school and the parking lot, an old greenhouse had sat dormant, overgrown, and near-collapse for years. By 2009, a community organizer named Steve Eberly had begun a sweeping healthy food initiative across Tulsa and especially north Tulsa. His program (recipient of the USDA's Community Food Project (CFP) grant), called Food for Life, had the goal of affecting positive change in what Eberly called a “three-prong approach.” The three prongs were the basic tenets of many food security initiatives: improve knowledge of healthy foods through cooking and nutrition education outreach for adults and children, establish and maintain community gardens, and encourage better food policy on a local and state-wide level.
So Eberly embarked on a fervent mission through north Tulsa, installing dozens of community gardens and raised beds, pushing, with other community members and organizations (including Demalda Newsome’s son Chris Newsome – see the Newsome Community Farms profile) for Representative Seneca Scott to sponsor a bill that would secure agricultural funds for a healthy corner store initiative. He led the charge to create the Tulsa Food Security Council. His group organized North Tulsa Eats, a community dinner open, free of charge, to all of North Tulsa. Owners and cooks from the soul food restaurants that dominate the neighborhood volunteered their time and worked with Eberly and others to make small, healthful changes to their dishes. Residents gathered in the McClain High School gymnasium for a shared meal and a chance to see healthy food, culturally appropriate food options.
Eberly’s ambitious, “shotgun” approach intended to spread as much seed for change as possible. Some of the gardens and raised beds failed, either due to poor training of the immediate residents, misguided placement within the community, or, it could be argued, a lack of cultural literacy. Going into a foreign community with an outside idea of what’s best for those people has its obvious pitfalls. And with Eberly’s broad-sweeping approach, some gardens weren’t completely seen through. But many of the gardens stuck and many children, as Eberly and Food for Life hoped, began to see for the first time where real food comes from.
North Tulsa has a life expectancy rate fourteen years younger than the rest of Tulsa. The city is as segregated racially and economically as any in the country. Bringing different groups together around food, from ground-level growing to legislative policy changes, is a monumental effort in uncharted waters. Eberly’s passion for change and for action generated a lot of momentum in a short time.
Unfortunately, Eberly passed away from brain disease in August of 2011. The grant had over a year left and things were just getting ramped up. The McClain greenhouse project had been completed with help from Ms. Campbell’s and other classes’ students. A Greenhouse Council was set up to maintain it. The Tulsa Food Security Council of over 30 community organizations had coalesced and found a pivotal awareness cause in the Buy Fresh, Buy Local marketing campaign to connect consumers to farmers and farmers markets. And North Tulsa Eats had become an annual event, attended by hundreds of residents. The three prongs were taking root.
So when Eberly passed away, he left a powerful wave of energy and conversation among organizations and individuals fighting for the same food security balance throughout Tulsa. Fortunately, Eberly’s passion was somewhat contagious and many Tulsans caught it. Katie Plohocky was in commercial real estate until she found herself becoming increasingly involved in the community grassroots efforts around healthy food. Her husband, Scott Smith, was a community organizer and entrepreneur. He’d opened the Blue Jackalope in downtown as an alternative grocery store with healthy, affordable options and local produce. But its small scale limited access to the large-scale distribution center, meaning the Blue Jackalope couldn’t get the products it needed at the price that made sense for the neighborhood. So Scott had to close it.
Hunger and food insecurity affect 1 in 7 Americans today. Those affected by hunger are three times more likely to have diet related health problems like diabetes or hypertension. At WhyHunger, we support grassroots organizations working at the intersections of health and hunger. That’s why we’re excited to share this video highlighting the innovative programs at Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH).
BSCAH hosts an array of projects that tackle the root causes of hunger including a “VeggieRx” program. Through a partnership with the Addabbo Family Health Center, patients with diet related illnesses are given a “prescription” - a free voucher for produce from the farm stand. We visited their Healing Garden in Far Rockaway, NY to learn more about this model and how it can serve as an example to communities around the country.
During our time there, we met and spoke with Sam Josephs, a youth leader in the Green Teens Program, which allows her to serve as a mentor to her peers. Sam emphasizes the importance of growing fresh, organic produce for her community and the positive impact it has on her neighbors’ health: “Here in Rockaway, you don’t have access to the things that you need… When you have a farm, you’re producing your own food, you’re watching out for your own health.” Her testimony speaks to the value of programs like this, and the importance of local, community-controlled food systems in fighting diet related illnesses.
Executive Director Dr. Melony Samuels, who founded the organization in 1998, believes that increased funding and advocacy is needed to strengthen programs such as these that make the critical connections between food, agriculture and health. In turn, it will also support the development of new organizations and community empowerment nationwide. “This is a workable model,” she says. “I know the long-lasting benefit that it will add to the lives of families. It means that a senior citizen can live a little longer. It means that a child might never see diabetes, never be obese, or never have hypertension. It means a lot to me.” It certainly means a lot to the thousands of families served and it means a lot to us too.
Watch this inspiring video to learn more about Sam and BSCAH’s VeggieRx and Green Teens Program, and thank you to Sam & BSCAH for the work that you do and for sharing your story with us!
WhyHunger has teamed up with concert voter registration organization, HeadCount, to bring voter registration drives to local food pantries across the U.S. in order to make it easier for their community members to vote. HeadCount traditionally hosts pop-up voter registration drives at over 1,000 concerts a year where their usual target audience is millennials. This summer, they saw an opportunity to partner with WhyHunger and their food access partners as natural extension of their mission to reach folks whose voices are too often left out of the political process.
Recently, we caught up with Executive Director of HeadCount, Andrew Bernstein, as he and the HeadCount team were setting up the voter registration table at a local NYC organization that partners with WhyHunger, New York Common Pantry. We asked Andrew why partnering up with food pantry locations could turn into a soon permanent direction for HeadCount’s mission; “HeadCount was founded on the idea that if you want to see change in the world, then you have to do something about it. And the very first thing anyone can do is vote. This is a sacred right and if we don’t use it, we can’t complain…The energy that we’ve managed to organize in the music community, [making sure concert goers are registered to vote], to use that and go beyond the music community…Coming to a food pantry is the next step in the natural evolution, and is honestly far more important here than we could ever do at a concert.”
And the team at New York Common Pantry echoed the connection between voter registration and their work to end hunger and build food justice.
“We understand that food insecurity is part of a larger issue, which is poverty. In order to address the dynamics that perpetuate poverty, we need elected officials willing to listen and work to fix systems in the immediate and the long term to alleviate food insecurity,” explained Daniel Reyes, Deputy Executive Director at New York Common Pantry. “By providing the space for partners like WhyHunger and Head Count to register potential voters we are actively manifesting our mission to alleviate hunger across NYC. Our members and guests are empowered to use their vote to select candidates who will fight for the issues that are dear to them, including alleviating food insecurity.”
Both WhyHunger and HeadCount believe in making sure that every voice is heard, and that no one is left out. Bernstein summed up the importance of these types of partnership best, “We are able to meet people who are often not addressed and not reached by campaigns to get them involved -- people who maybe feel they don’t have a voice, maybe people who have the most at stake.” Essentially, this partnership helps to increase the voices of those who matter the most during election time.
What has the USDA’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) done for American children in its 50 years of existence? Find out in this new report by Janet Poppendieck, activist, author, professor emerita at Hunter College and WhyHunger Board Member as she examines the history, challenges, policy gains and role of advocacy in shaping the program on its 50th anniversary.
What we know for sure is that this program has provided nutritious food to millions of kids in the US. Since SBP was established, the Average Daily Participation has grown from about 80,000 in the first year of operation to 14,900,000 last year. But how did we get here and how do we keep this critical program in place as an effective tool in the fight against hunger and poverty?
“In my view, the fifty-year effort to make school breakfast more available, accessible, acceptable and nutritious is an outstanding example of effective advocacy and possibly the best example of productive cooperation between national anti-hunger organizations and state and local groups.” – Janet Poppendieck
Last weekend our Senior Director of Programs, Alison Cohen, sat down with ABC7 News Chicago to talk about five ways we can all have an impact in ending hunger both during the holidays and throughout the year:
1. Power up your Food Drive! Instead of a canned food drive, consider collecting financial contributions to make your dollar go farther and your contribution healthier.
2. Volunteer in October…or February! Many people like to volunteer on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but food banks and soup kitchens need dedicated volunteers and volunteers with specialized skills year-round.
3. Step into the Garden! Volunteer your time and talents or make a donation to a local community garden, co-op, urban agriculture program or farmers’ market.
4. Go Beyond Charity to Social Justice! Food is at the center of the larger fight for justice. Remember that racism and poverty are the root causes of hunger and food insecurity and looks for ways to advocate, support and elevate those struggles!
5. Choose Gifts that Give Back We’ve partnered with Chamilia Jewelry to create a beautiful sterling silver charm engraved with the words “Give thanks.” Each purchase donates $4 to our programs, and is a daily reminder to live a thankfully.
WhyHunger was in the windy city as part of WhyHunger’s Midwest regional gathering, we connected with 14 incredible community-based groups to share best practices, build relationships and strategize around successes and challenges in the fight for food justice from the ground up. To add some real hands on learning to our 2 day gathering, we visiting local innovative grassroots organizations, Growing Home and Growing Power. Supporting organizations like these is a great way to get involved, from helping to weed a garden or donating to job-training programs.