Join us for “The State of Hunger” on March 5

Emerson, Events, Field, Updates

“The State of Hunger in America,” a briefing featuring field work presentations from the 27th Class of Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows, will be held online on Friday, March 5, 2021.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the current state of hunger from passionate young leaders who have been engaged with community-focused work across the country since September 2020. Fellows have been placed with organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, and Washington State.

Event Schedule

(all times listed in ET)

Session 1: Community Food Systems and Engagement

  • 10:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
    Shannon Maynard, Executive Director, Congressional Hunger Center
    Katharine Emerson, Congressional Hunger Center Board Secretary
  • 10:10 a.m. Community Engagement and the Pittsburgh Food System
    Tony Eskridge, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • 10:20 a.m. Remarks
    Rep. James P. McGovern, Congressional Hunger Center Board Chair
  • 10:30 a.m. Trust Black Women: The Intersection of Housing & Food in Pittsburgh
    Janiah Miller, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • 10:40 a.m. Towards Food Sovereignty: Reimagining the Food-related Social Safety Net in Chicago
    Niisoja Torto, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Chicago, Ill.
  • 10:50 .a.m. Returning to the Land: Pathways and Barriers to Accessing Land in Chicago
    Riani Carr, Chicago Food Policy Action Council Chicago, Ill.
  • 11:00 a.m. The Alabama Safety Net and Misdirection of Policies
    Curtis Hills, Alabama Arise, Montgomery, Ala.

Session 2: Food Security in Tribal Communities

  • 11:10 a.m. Cultivating Resilience in Indian Country: An Assessment of COVID-19’s Impact on Tribal Food Systems
    Joel Anderson & Olivia Chan, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • 11:30 a.m. Investing in Indian Country: Funding Needs in Native Agriculture
    Sara Maillacheruvu, Native American Agriculture Fund, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • 11:40 a.m. Advocating for the Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program
    Alexandra Holden, Native American Agriculture Fund, Fayetteville, Ark.

Session 3: Child Nutrition Programs and Universal School Meals

  • 12:50 p.m. The Impact of COVID-19 on Summer Child Nutrition Programs in Massachusetts: Assessing Opportunity, Challenges and Needs
    Michelle Nikfarjam, Project Bread, Boston, Mass.
  • 1:00pm Oregon School Meal Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Cara Claffin, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Portland , Ore.
  • 1:10pm Tracing Race-Related Tethers in the National School Lunch Program: Exploring CEP as an Equitable Solution for Tomorrow’s Alabama
    Kate Blankinship, Alabama Arise, Montgomery, Ala.

Session 4: Program Evaluation and The Emergency Food System

  • 1:20 p.m. Expanding the Mission: An Oregon Childcare Agency’s Fight to End Hunger
    Ally Hardebeck, Oregon Child Development Coalition, Portland, Ore.
  • 1:30 p.m. Representation, Diversity, and Grass-Roots Advocacy: Restructuring Washington Food Coalition’s Board of Directors
    Frank (Xavier) Roberts, Washington Food Coalition, Seattle, Wash.
  • 1:40 p.m. Start Where You Are: Tools for Assessing Racial Equity and Powering Change at the Houston Food Bank
    Leslie Rios, Houston Food Bank, Houston, Texas.
  • 1:50 p.m. Project Bread’s Action Academy: An Overview; Jacquelyn Sullivan, Project Bread, Boston, Mass.

Session 5: The Impacts of COVID-19 and the State of Hunger

  • 2:00 p.m. COVID-19 and the Emergency Food System: Trends and Policy Opportunities to Build a Hunger-Free California
    Max De Faria, California Association of Food Banks, Oakland, Calif.
  • 2:10 p.m. Pandemic-EBT in California: Lessons and Opportunities to End Childhood Hunger
    Rocio Perez, California Association of Food Banks, Oakland, Calif.
  • 2:20 p.m. Western Washington Counties of Focus Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Nancy Chang, Food Lifeline, Seattle, Wash.
  • 2:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
    Tony Jackson, Program Director, Emerson National Hunger Fellowship


The placements of the 27th Class of Emerson Fellows are made possible with major support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as The Kroger Co. Foundation, PepsiCo, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and generous contributions from individual donors.

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