When youâ€™re surrounded by 300 students from across the country who are fiercely passionate about ending hunger, you canâ€™t help but walk away inspired.
At the recent annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit, I met students who have started food pantries on campus; who created apps for sharing meal swipes; who are not letting food go to waste and are using technology feed the world. These students are engaged, energized, empowered and relentless in their fight against hunger on campus and around the world. They are fearless. And they believe they can make a difference.
One of the most memorable messages was from Tony Hall, former Ambassador to the United Nations who focused his time in congress to alleviating world hunger. He knew Mother Teresa personally, and had the opportunity to witness her work in Calcutta. He reminded students of Mother Theresaâ€™s advice, which was â€œDo the thing thatâ€™s in front of you.â€
Keynote speaker Roger Thurow, senior fellow for the Global Food and Agriculture Program of the the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and author of The First 1,000 Days, emphasized the importance of proper nutrition and access to food. He said, â€œWe canâ€™t stand aside and say this doesnâ€™t matter. A stunted child anywhere in the world becomes a stunted child everywhere.â€
Here are key take-a-ways that may inspire, encourage and as Roger Thurow likes to say, may even enrage you.
- â€œAdvocate for people who have trouble speaking for themselves. We need you.â€
- â€œIf you feed only one person, you are everything to that person.â€
- â€œAny idea can make a difference.â€
- â€œHunger is not just happening on the ground in countries across the world, but in Washington, D.C.â€
- â€œHunger is the worldâ€™s most solvable problem; itâ€™s up to you.â€
- â€œItâ€™s important to invest in relationships in the fight against hunger.â€
- â€œOne person can make a difference; will that be you?â€
As Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America said in a passionate speech, he pleaded: â€œHungry people donâ€™t have a voice; are you going to be their voice?”