“Embrace the challenge” was the charge from key note speaker, The Reverend Larry James, at the 2017 Dallas Hunger Summit. Presented by the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions and hosted by Cliff Temple Baptist Church, the 6th Dallas Hunger Summit was attended by over 230 community leaders. Students, faith community members, non-profit leaders, health and education professionals, and healthy food access advocates convened to hear about the status of food insecurity in greater Dallas and the innovative solutions taking place to help reduce the problem.
Master of Ceremonies and founder of the community uplift organization For Oak Cliff, Taylor Toynes, deftly guided the proceedings which opened with a welcome from Marsha Mills, Director of Mission Oak Cliff, a community ministry of Cliff Temple Baptist Church providing emergency food and other services. The program continued with remarks from Coalition Chairperson, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who lamented that even after the strides made by the Coalition since its creation, children are still hungry. Reverend James exhorted us to empower those who need help to become part of the solution and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins rounded out the opening plenary with a call for compassion and collaboration in facing our community’s most difficult obstacles.
Breakout sessions were an opportunity to learn about the various initiatives underway in the Coalition’s priority action areas of child hunger, senior hunger, faith community engagement, urban agriculture and healthy food access. Participants heard about effective solutions occurring in under resourced communities to eliminate barriers to nutritious food and how they can support these efforts. Several of these presentations are available here:
- WIC Farmers Market
- UNT Dallas Fresh Mobile Market
- Feed Oak Cliff – Grocery Alternatives for a Food Desert
- The Market at BonTon Farms
- Baylor Scott and White Farm Stands
- Healthy Food Retail Initiative
- Transportation and Senior Hunger
- Child Hunger Policy
A public policy panel discussion on the important role of federal nutrition programs, particularly SNAP, provided food for thought during lunch. Simon Powell, COO of the North Texas Food Bank, joined Metrocrest Services CEO Tracy Eubanks and Parkland Hospital Director of Social Impact, Vidya Ayyr, to enlighten us on how SNAP helps them fight hunger and poverty and promote health. Marc Jacobson, Texas Hunger Initiative’s Dallas Regional Director, demonstrated graphically the significance of SNAP as by far the largest anti-hunger program and pressed attendees to sign petitions urging lawmakers to preserve this safety net program. View this SNAP presentation here.
The 2017 Dallas Hunger Summit is a wrap, but our work continues. See you in the trenches!
This post was written and contributed to the blog by Wyonella Henderson-Greene, Coalition Coordinator