College students and others interested in eliminating hunger will be urged to take action at the second annual Kentucky Hunger Dialogue on Saturday, September 30. Hosted by the Berea College Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) and sponsored by Kentucky Campus Compact, the theme for this year’s Kentucky Hunger Dialogue is “Asset-Based Responses to Hunger.” The event will highlight successful programs already at work in our communities and present tools for engagement with hunger on three levels: emergency response, food systems, and policy change. Alongside non-profit and state agencies, students from colleges and universities across the commonwealth will spend the day networking, learning, and building coalitions.
“The Hunger Dialogue is designed to empower college students throughout the state with knowledge and skills to address issues that impact our communities,” stated Gayle Hilleke, Executive Director of Kentucky Campus Compact, the organization that sponsors the event. The agenda for the day will include two plenary panel discussions that feature speakers who are involved in addressing hunger from the perspectives of non-profit, governmental, and higher-education-based efforts. The day will also include several breakout sessions and tours of local sites featuring organizations that are addressing hunger in a variety of ways. Megan Davis, a student at Berea College and a member of the Hunger Dialogue planning committee, reflected, “Students throughout Kentucky are already taking action to address hunger on campus and in our communities. The Hunger Dialogue will be a space where we can share ideas and resources, as well as learn from community leaders. We also hope to encourage more students to get involved in efforts to address hunger.” Each participant will be encouraged to set personal goals for how they will address hunger in the coming year.
“Hunger is an issue that affects one in six Kentuckians, who experience food insecurity. This means that 700,000 Kentuckians lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life,” said Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and a member of the Hunger Dialogue planning committee. This year’s Hunger Dialogue will feature innovative, Kentucky-based approaches to addressing hunger at many points throughout the food production and consumption cycle, including programs to support local farmers, federally-funded programs to feed children year-round, programs to empower consumers to be able to make healthy food choices on a limited budget, and programs that use the assets of rural communities to bring people and organizations together to make food accessible to those who need it.
“We anticipate that those who attend the Kentucky Hunger Dialogue will come ready to learn and share. At the end of the day, we hope that participants will leave with some specific actions steps they plan to take to address hunger in their communities,” stated Ashley Cochrane, Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) at Berea College, which is the host of this year’s event. While the focus of the event is to engage college and university students in dialogue about hunger, all are welcome to attend by registering at www.kyhungerdialogue.com.
For more information about the Hunger Dialogue or to register, please visit http://www.kyhungerdialogue.com/ or call 859-985-3605. The Kentucky Hunger Dialogue also has a Facebook event page.