Among the things most anticipated about spring are the return of warm weather, sunshine, bright flowers blooming, and events like cookouts and family reunions. The Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Summit is our family reunion of sorts, where we get to gather with our food assistance partners, neighbors and friends to discuss what’s current in the hunger relief space. This year’s Summit focused on engaging those who are in the springtime of their lives about becoming the next generation of hunger advocates.
After a delicious breakfast provided by Menus Catering, the morning addresses kicked off with CAFB President and CEO Nancy Roman welcoming those new to the CAFB, and outlining why CAFB is becoming a “next generation food bank.” She laid out three pillars that are propelling this work: the ability of the CAFB to fuel wellness across DC, Maryland & Virginia through access to fresh fruits and vegetables; the commitment of CAFB’s staff to address social and racial inequity in every aspect of its work; and the deployment of cutting edge technology to identify the need and most readily meet it.
Andy Shallal, founder and owner of Busboys and Poets, inspired attendees to remember how connected we all are, and how those in need of food, jobs and other services aren’t so different from those seated in the audience. Quoting Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again”, he called the audience to address race relations and social justice head on. Shallal also revealed plans for the Busboys and Poets project that will serve the Anacostia neighborhood, providing job training and employment opportunities to an area the Capital Area Food Bank and our partners serve regularly due to a lack of grocery stores and other options for healthy food there.
The Food Bank Network was launched at the Summit, which allows anyone to find service providers online—including food, job training, or health care–simply by entering their zip code. Erine Gray, who founded the software he calls Aunt Bertha, discussed why he created this social search engine to “design dignity in every step.” We hope this allows people to better search for the services they need and helps our partners and other service providers connect with one another.
Last but not least, the CAFB awarded a very small group of its most committed partners with recognition for the part they’ve played in ending hunger in the Washington metro area. Congratulations to: