A Tradition Grows
Annual Reception Started by Bread Activist Becomes a Major, Multifaceted Event
Every October, hundreds of leaders from agribusiness, academia, government, and nonprofits gather in Des Moines, Iowa, for the annual World Food Prize ceremonies and related events. The prestigious prize honors individuals who have increased the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.
Among the events surrounding the award ceremony is a yearly reception organized by Bread for the World. This tradition was started in 2009 through the efforts of retired personal financial planner Harry Hinrichs, who has been a longtime Bread activist. Hinrichs held the first reception in his home, and it has grown in the past few years. The reception took on more prestige in only its second occurrence, when Bread for the World’s own president, Rev. David Beckmann, won the World Food Prize in 2010. The reception is now held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, a landmark Beaux Arts building in downtown Des Moines, and is multifaceted with a variety of guests and purposes.
"This year's reception was absolutely wonderful," said Bob Shaw, who serves on Bread for the World's Advisory Committee. "What a positive way to bring people together on common ground. At a time of so much misinformation about hunger and poor people, this is an important forum to get the facts."
This year's World Food Prize was awarded on Oct. 17 at the Iowa State Capitol Building.
Speakers at the Bread reception included Barry Johnson, founder of an organizational development method called Polarity Thinking, and Kristi Jacobson, director of A Place at the Table, a documentary film on hunger in the United States produced in 2013 and funded in part by Bread.
During the Iowa Hunger Summit that followed the reception, the World Food Prize Foundation and Bread organized a public viewing of the film. Bread board member Sharon Thornberry and anti-hunger advocate Barbie Izquierdo joined local experts at the panel discussion following the viewing.
"I was touched to hear how the film's director herself was changed by the film," said Andrea Westmeyer, another member of the advisory committee who attended the reception. "I'm proud to have played a role in making this event an effective one. I applaud everything Bread does."
The reception raised $56,000 for Bread. More than 100 people attended, including Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and World Food Prize laureates.
Photo: From right to left: Rev. David Beckmann and Jo Luck.