President Obama's Young African Leaders Visit Food Bank - Capital Area Food Bank
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President Obama's Young African Leaders Visit Food Bank

By Brian Banks August 18, 2010

When I first received the e-mail to host the President’s Young African Leaders, my first reaction was how to sufficiently host the group with so much on my plate.  I went on vacation and the first question that was posed as soon as I arrived back to the food bank was, “Brian, any idea on how we should set up the visit for the Young African Leaders?”

My team was swamped but I wanted to ensure that the group had a great experience at our facility.  The Young African Leaders were hand-picked by the U.S. Department of State to come to the U.S. and learn about how non-profit organizations operate in an effort to better the communities they live in. The group was comprised of government officials, nutrition experts, media professionals and future food bankers.  This was a group of great leaders!

So I made a few calls, sent e-mails, researched the group and began the process of setting up a program for them to learn about the CAFB. 

The group wanted to learn how we serve the community and how our programs help those without access to healthy and nutritious foods.  On their visit, the leaders learned all about our Food For Kids Program, Harvest for Health, Agency Relations, Nutrition Education and our Public Policy & Community Outreach Program.

The leaders were amazed at our various nutrition education programs and were surprised to learn about the number of Americans struggling with hunger, high obesity rates and the lack of access to grocery stores throughout the country; and particularly in the National Capital Region.   

The Young African Leaders met with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so I was honored when we were  put on the same agenda as our great leaders.  The greatest honor, however, was knowing that the food bank that I proudly work for is not only a leader in the community but a leader around the world.

One of the participants, Claudia (pictured above) from Congo B, recently sent me an e-mail thanking me and the CAFB for all of the information we shared. In her email she stated,  “…I was amazed by the initiatives at the Capital Area Food Bank. I will definitely be writing you more to seek your advice and assistance. I think you are actually doing a great job and I wonder if we would be able to make such a success here in Congo B. Yep, I came back yesterday with a mind full with new ideas.”

Claudia’s words confirm that the Capital Area Food Bank is on the right track in the community.  I encourage everyone that lacks food to contact us at 202-526-5344.  We are ready, willing and able to help.  Most importantly we enjoy what we do.