The second annual Iowa Hunger Summit will unite Iowans from around the state and from a variety of backgrounds on Tuesday, October 14, for a free and open-to-the-public day of events focusing on the various contributions of Iowans to combat hunger in Iowa and around the world.
The Hunger Summit is the kickoff event for the 2008 World Food Prize's week-long series of events, which take place October 13 to 18 in Des Moines. The World Food Prize symposium, held every year, attracts over 500 agricultural and food policy specialists from all over the world, who discuss topics related to food.
Gov. Chet Culver will preside over a "hunger luncheon" at noon, in which guests will be served meals that represent Iowa-based programs for alleviating child and family hunger. The keynote address at the Hunger Summit, which coincides with the Jewish agricultural and thanksgiving holiday of Sukkoth, will be given by Eric Schockman, national anti-hunger advocate and president of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
Hunger is a reality for 420,000 Iowans
Other events focusing on issues related to hunger will take place throughout the day. The morning program will begin with panel discussions focusing on hunger issues faced by Iowa's children and families hosted by Iowa State University Extension. The Iowa Department of Human Services will organize a session on the successes and challenges of state programs to reduce child hunger. Recent studies indicate hunger is a reality for more than 420,000 Iowans. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 923 million people worldwide are hungry.
Following the luncheon, national and international organizations such as Alliance to End Hunger and Friends of the UN World Food Program will address ways Iowans and Americans can lead the fight against hunger both here and globally. Iowa organizations affiliated with the Kids Against Hunger program will sponsor a session on how Iowa communities are taking global action to counteract malnutrition and food insecurity for families in Africa and Latin America.
Events open to all Iowans, no cost to attend
The events are open to all Iowans and there is no cost to attend. Registration, as well as a complete schedule with ongoing updates, is available at www.iowahungersummit.org.
The Iowa Hunger Summit is organized by the World Food Prize Foundation and serves as the kick-off to the World Food Prize's weeklong series of events. Foundation officials have spent the past year calculating the total amount that Iowa, as a state, has contributed over the past year to the cause of fighting hunger – whether here at home, or abroad. The total figures will be announced during the hunger luncheon. The totals announced at last year's Hunger Summit showed that in 2006-2007, Iowans donated $6.2 million, over 15 million pounds of food, and over 65,000 volunteer hours to the fight against hunger.
"Iowa has a long and storied history of helping those in need, such as the Iowa SHARES campaign in the late 1970s," says Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. "The Iowa Hunger Summit shines a light on the serious issue of hunger in our state, around the country and across the globe, and highlights the various efforts and activities of Iowans to combat these problems."
Over 400 community, business, and citizen leaders are expected to attend these events, coming from all of Iowa's 99 counties and representing businesses and social agencies, civic organizations, religious associations, schools and colleges, and other groups active in the fight against hunger.