Ed. Notes: This week we visit two exceptional women who through their leadership "walk the talk." Both Noreen and Dana have been inspirations to all of us associated with KIDS. We first met Noreen 25 years ago when Jane and I joined Why Hunger. We watched her grow from the "girl at the front desk" to becoming Executive Director of the organization last year. Dana came into our lives 23 years ago when we were in our first year of KIDS. She and her partner, Madiha, came to visit us to learn how we went about starting KIDS. KIDS has maintained a very close relationship with Noreen & Dana and their organizations culminating in both organizations joining our Finding Solutions to Hunger Alliance.
This month I celebrate my 25th work anniversary at WhyHunger and I am happy to share that the journey remains challenging, adventurous and fulfilling thanks to each of you, our grassroots partners, and WhyHunger's incredible board and staff. Reflecting back on my first day behind the front desk, our work remains as vital today as it was back then and my commitment as potent as ever. In many ways, WhyHunger was ahead of its time since the beginning. Bill and Harry were audacious in their vision to see a world free from hunger by getting to the root causes of poverty and delivering on the promise of social justice. They believed nutritious food was a human right and that power came from the grassroots up!
The notion of a new framework that moves beyond food charity and into social justice compelled me then and now, prompting me last month to participate in the Women's March with my mother and youngest daughter. This action was an expression of solidarity with the communities and people WhyHunger cares most about and a demand for justice for all.
25 years later, I can promise that we will remain vigilant in our work. We will ensure people in need have access to nutritious food from the essential federal nutrition programs that keep millions of people free from hunger and malnutrition. We will seek transparency from the USDA and Congress as they review the future of SNAP, School Breakfast, School Lunch, Summer Meals, WIC and the many other food and nutrition programs that are a lifeline for so many Americas. We will continue to invest in proven grassroots solutions led by those most affected by hunger, poverty and injustice. We will remain steadfast in our strategies that address the poverty and powerlessness at the heart of hunger and will build a social movement to fight hunger at the intersection of economic inequality, health, the environment and race.
As we all work to build a world that is free from hunger and with food as a basic human right, it is important to remember the positive effect of building collective power in solidarity with the people most affected by hunger. I have experienced it firsthand for the last 25 years, and their energy, creativity and commitment continue to give me hope as they chart the path forward.