U.S. Congressman, National Leaders to Discuss Approaches to Reduce Poverty and Domestic Hunger at 'Together at the Table Hunger and Poverty Summit' Oct. 1-3 at Baylor

Sept. 29, 2014

Public policy discussion on Oct. 3 between Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and Baylor President Ken Starr among highlights of national poverty summit

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Contacts: Lori Fogleman, Baylor Media Communications, 254-710-6275 and Charis Dietz, Texas Hunger Initiative, 254-710-3781

WACO, Texas (Sept. 29, 2014) – A Congressional Dialogue featuring San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro on public policy approaches to reduce domestic hunger will be among the highlights of the national “Together at the Table: Hunger and Poverty Summit” Oct. 1-3 at Baylor University.

The annual Summit, now in its sixth year, brings together more than 350 leaders and practitioners from across the country to share their knowledge and expertise on addressing poverty, with a specific emphasis on food insecurity.

Co-hosted by Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Region and Feeding Texas, the Summit will include more than 30 breakout sessions, as well as addresses by five keynote speakers, including:

• Audrey Rowe, administrator of Food and Nutrition Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2)

• Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America (noon, Wednesday, Oct. 1)

• Greg Kaufmann, senior fellow with the Half in Ten campaign at the Center for American Progress and the editor of TalkPoverty.org (noon, Thursday, Oct. 2,)

• Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1)

• Dr. Linda English, clinical assistant professor in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor (8 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 2)

Breakout sessions that focus on health, community organizing and justice will be held in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Breakout topics and the schedule can be found here. Plenary sessions featuring the keynote speakers will be held on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center. That schedule can be found here. The full agenda for the Summit is available on the Texas Hunger Initiative website.

“Attendees of the Summit are professionals and practitioners from a dynamic range of professions who are already working daily to reduce hunger poverty in communities across the country,” said Jeremy Everett, who played an integral part in launching the first Hunger Summit at Baylor five years ago as director of Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative. “Our hope is that the Congressional Dialogue event, along with hearing from many other tremendous speakers and thought leaders throughout conference, would provide them with an opportunity to hear new information and ask meaningful questions which will directly inform their work and programmatic approaches.”

The Summit will conclude with the Congressional Dialogue at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium. Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr will facilitate the discussion with Congressman Castro centered around public policy as it relates to hunger and poverty.

A San Antonio native, Congressman Castro earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University and his Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law then returned to San Antonio to serve the community in which he was raised. He served 10 years in the Texas State Legislature and currently represents a large portion of San Antonio and Bexar County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

During the Congressional Dialogue, Congressman Castro and Judge Starr will discuss topics such as best practices needed to create what Castro calls the “Infrastructure of Opportunity” for others to pursue their potential. As a second-generation Mexican American, Congressman Castro says he has “experienced America’s promise firsthand” and “is continuously working to see that future generations will have the same chance to pursue their American Dream.”

Everett anticipates that Friday morning's event will garner an audience of approximately 400 people, including Waco leaders along with Summit attendees.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to hear from leaders like Congressman Joaquin Castro during the ‘Together at the Table: Hunger and Poverty Summit,’” Everett said. “Rep. Castro has worked to serve Texas communities in and around the greater San Antonio area and certainly is having influence with domestic policy now that can help reduce hunger and poverty among Americans who are struggling.”

Since the first Hunger Summit was held at Baylor in 2009, the Texas Hunger Initiative, along with its many partners across the state, have seen 60 million more school breakfasts served to children each year in Texas schools. In addition, the number of Texas children receiving Summer Meals has increased to more than 63,000 per day in the summer months. However, one in four Texas children is still considered food-insecure.

More information about the Texas Hunger Initiative and the Summit can be found at Texas Hunger.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) is a collaborative, capacity-building project focused on ensuring that every Texan has access to three nutritious meals a day, seven days a week. THI develops and implements strategies to end hunger through research, policy, education, community organizing and community development. Headquartered at Baylor University with 12 regional offices across the state, THI convenes federal, state and local government stakeholders with nonprofits, faith communities and business leaders to create an efficient system of accountability that increases food security in Texas.

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