Spotlight Exclusives

A New Exclusive Commentary Series: Ending Childhood Hunger in America

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As policymakers in Washington debate the future of programs focused on alleviating childhood hunger, Spotlight On Poverty and Opportunity is excited to announce a new Exclusive Commentary series, entitled “Ending Childhood Hunger in America.” The series will bring together key voices over two months to discuss how hunger affects our nation۪schildren and what we need to do about it. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


The series kicked off with Joel Berg, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, who argued against cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In his piece, Berg argued that “SNAP is one of the most effective, best-run, and important programs in U.S. history for children. Given that the nation۪s food pantries, soup kitchens, and food banks are running out of food as they face record demand, the logical response would be for Congress to increase SNAP funding and protect the young people in this country.”


Some of the other planned commentators include:

– Billy Shore, Share our Strength

– Vicki Escarra, Feeding America

– James Weill, Food Research and Action Center

– Dr. Deborah A. Frank, Grow Clinic for Children at the Boston Medical Center, Children’s    HealthWatch, and Boston University School of Medicine

– Andrea Silbert, The Eos Foundation


Although this is Spotlight۪s first commentary series to focus solely on hunger, it builds on previous coverage of the issue. In May of 2011, Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, wrote about trimming food waste and targeting food distribution as a possible method to combat hunger. Similarly, Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) discussed successful food stamp participation efforts in Massachusetts and innovative ways to leverage anti-hunger programs. His piece followed a full day of discussions on ending hunger at the Massachusetts Hunger Summit in March 2008.


This new series comes at a time of growing attention on hunger and innovative efforts to spotlight the problem. For example, celebrity chef Mario Batali۪s participation in a Food Stamp Challenge introduced a celebrity voice to the issue. Batali spent only about $31 on food for one week in May to simulate the experience of relying on SNAP.


In addition, the Open Society Foundations۪ Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation team is featuring the work of the Fair Food Network۪s Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program on the Open Society Voices blog. The DUFB program matches any money spent at farmers۪ markets by participants with tokens to purchase additional fruits and vegetables. Looking beyond childhood hunger and tackling a national issue, the DUFB program۪s focus is on promoting healthy food consumption and its goal “is to transform federal food assistance into an investment in our future, one that would result in the improved health of our low-income citizens, decreased poverty, increased earnings for our farmers, and a stronger and more vibrant economy on the local and national level.”


Keep reading Spotlight۪s new series throughout the summer to hear more voices on how to end childhood hunger in America.

Posted by Sarah

Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

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