Gen Z Leaders Gather in Washington for Food & Hunger Summit


Today, over 50 campus leaders from 25 states will gather in Washington, D.C., for the 2nd Annual Gen Z Food & Hunger Summit, hosted by the Congressional Hunger Center and the Food Systems Collaborative.

The students, many of whom are involved with campus-based service organizations, will meet with members of Congress representing their home districts to discuss food security issues on their campuses and their proposed solutions for improving availability and affordability of basic needs for college students.

“It’s not radical to think that everybody in this country ought to have enough food to live—in fact, food ought to be a fundamental human right for every human being on this planet,” said Congressman James P. McGovern, whose is schedule to speak with participants on Tuesday. “It’s my belief that we can end hunger within the decade—and I think that the young people of this country are the ones who can get it done. The energy, the passion, and the devotion that I have seen in this generation gives me faith that we can and will end hunger once and for all.”

“As a former Executive Director of a nonprofit that offered food programs, I’ve witnessed firsthand the village it takes to ensure everyone has access to nutritious and culturally appropriate meals,” said Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, who will also address the students on Tuesday. “I’m honored to be speaking at this year’s Gen Z Food and Hunger Summit, and learn from our young leaders how we can work together to fight for policies that end hunger.

“We are pleased to welcome these young leaders to Washington to share their experiences and tell their stories,” said Shannon Maynard, Executive Director of the Congressional Hunger Center. “Being well-informed is the first step in making change. It’s our hope that members of Congress, in hearing from some of their younger constituents, will consider how current food security policies are playing out in campus communities across the nation.”

“By bringing a powerful group of Gen Z individuals to Capitol Hill, we’re not only advocating for critical pieces of food policy—including bills that would increase SNAP access for students and reduce senseless food waste by standardizing date labels—but also equipping the soon-to-be most populous generation with the tools needed to drive tangible progress in the food system,” said Niyeti Shah, Founder & Executive Director of Food Systems Collaborative. “This summit should demonstrate to Congress that when it comes to shaping a healthier and more equitable future, Gen Z is not afraid to lead the way.”

Summit partners also included the Bonner Program, Bread for the World, Food Recovery Network, Farmlink Project, Student Basic Needs Coalition, and Swipe Out Hunger. The summit was made possible by the generous support of Shipt and the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation.

“No one group or person can end hunger alone: the power of collaboration is critical,” said Molly Snyder, Shipt’s chief communications and public affairs officer. “That’s why Shipt, a company passionate about leveraging our platform to fight hunger, is proud to support the great work of the Congressional Hunger Center and Food Systems Collaborative as they bring together student leaders from across the country to address food insecurity. With college students experiencing disproportionately high rates of food insecurity, it is inspiring to witness the next generation of leaders come together to share their stories and advocate on behalf of the millions of Americans experiencing hunger.”

Prior to meeting with members of Congress, students will receive an update on the state of U.S. food security for 2024, as well as exercises to hone their skills at advocacy and sharing personal stories.

The members of Gen Z, generally held to have been born between 1997 and 2012, are facing tough economic headwinds as they enter young adulthood. A recent study from Purdue University indicates Gen Z households are twice as likely to experience food insecurity compared to Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, the Congressional Hunger Center is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to the principle that access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a basic human right. The Hunger Center develops, inspires, and connects leaders in the movement to end hunger, and advocates for public policies that will create a food secure world.

Food Systems Collaborative is a consultancy offering services at the intersection of social impact and food systems. Sitting between the public and private sectors, FSC’s focus is on helping corporations scale and implement food donation processes, including building custom standard operating practices for food donation, finding non-profit partners, unlocking tax benefits for food donation, and more. It also helps companies create food systems-related SER and social impact strategies, specifically to showcase how brands can engage with food policy as a means for both social good and customer engagement.

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