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Seeds of Activism Grow in Iowa

Hunger in a season of plenty

December 2011

There are as many “points of entry” into Bread for the World’s work as there are people who care about ending hunger. An October gathering in Des Moines, IA, provided an opportunity for people to learn about Bread and ways they can help end hunger.

More than 120 business, religious, and political leaders from the area met for a reception on the eve of the 2011 World Food Prize award presentation. Bread President David Beckmann, co-recipient of the 2010 World Food Prize, spoke at the event and was a presenter of this year’s award.

The prize was established by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug in 1986 to honor people who make vital contributions to the world food supply. A series of educational events surrounds the award presentation.

The October 10 reception was arranged by a group of Bread volunteers who served as a local host committee. “The message of influencing the politics of hunger works for me,” said committee member Teresa Dunbar. “Hearing how much all of the great charities can accomplish versus what a legislator can do with a stroke of a pen is a powerful thing.” She noted that those who attended the reception are busy people who appreciate knowing what they can do—now—to help end hunger.

For committee member Bob Riley, Bread’s focus on the effectiveness of foreign aid struck a chord with him, and a reception highlight for him was the presence of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who introduced Beckmann. Riley also noted that the event took place during harvest time, which allowed for a powerful juxtaposition of hunger issues with plenty “at a time when Iowans are in a harvest mentality.”

Participants ranged from a visiting nurse who helps poor mothers to individuals whom legislators regularly contact about key issues. “Different people bring different gifts,” Dunbar says.

Special thanks goes to the committee members, who helped encourage the widest possible participation: Teresa and Tim Dunbar, Allison and Jim Fleming, Starr and Harry Hinrichs, Kay and Bob Riley, Becky and Bob Shaw, Jean and Bob Williams, Connie Winer and Frank Fogarty, and Janice and Alan Zuckert.

Similar events took place earlier this year in Miami, FL, and Minneapolis, MN. More receptions, arranged by Bread volunteer host committees, are planned for the year ahead.

Iowans have contributed significantly to the global fight against hunger. According to the World Food Prize foundation, Iowa residents donated more than 12.8 million pounds of food and volunteered more than 520,000 hours between October 2010 and October 2011.

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