Baylor Representative to Meet with San Antonio Officials about Ending HungerDec. 7, 2009
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Jeremy Everett, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative of the Baylor School of Social Work, will meet with the San Antonio mayor and executive director of the San Antonio Food Bank on Tuesday, Dec. 8, to find strategies for eradicating hunger in the state by the year 2015.
Texas is the second hungriest state in the nation, with an estimated 1.3 million Texas residents experiencing hunger daily, he said.
Also attending the meeting with Everett, Mayor Julian Castro and Eric Cooper of the San Antonio Food Bank will be Bill Ludwig, administrator for the Southwest region of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At noon, Everett will meet with San Antonio area pastors to enlist their support and ideas.
Everett noted that the San Antonio Food Bank, recently recognized by Feeding America as the best in the country, has set a good example in the fight to end hunger. Feeding America is the nation's leading hunger relief charity.
The No. 1 priority will be to increase the number of children in feeding programs in summer 2010, Everett said. Texas has the nation's highest rate of "food insecurity" -- not knowing where the next meal will come from --among children. That's an estimated 22 percent of those younger than age 18.
During the school year, children may eat free breakfasts and lunches at school, but for the next 20 hours, they may have nothing, Everett said. In summer, feeding programs are unavailable.
The San Antonio meetings come on the heels of Texas at the Table: Baylor University Hunger Summit on Nov. 19. It attracted more than 250 representatives from advocacy groups, social service providers and federal, state and local governments.
The initiative is a joint effort of Texas Baptists (formerly the Baptist General Convention of Texas) and the School of Social Work's Center for Family and Community Ministries at Baylor University.
In Texas, about 40 percent of eligible families do not take part in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to USDA officials. Food insecurity costs the state more than $9 billion a year, in part because of lowered productivity and illness related to hunger, according to a study by the University Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University in Waltham, Va.
Ironically, more than 96 billion pounds of food are wasted annually in the United States, according to USDA estimates.
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