By Rae Jefferson
American dinner tables that sit empty will soon be adorned with meals for the hungry, thanks to a new hunger commission headed by a green and gold alumnus.
Jeremy Everett, alumnus and director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, has been appointed as one of 10 commissioners to the National Commission on Hunger by Congress. The Texas Hunger Initiative is a project developed by the Baylor School of Social Work to end hunger through research and strategy development.
“We congratulate Jeremy Everett on his Congressional appointment to serve on the National Commission on Hunger,” wrote Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president and provost at Baylor, in a press release Monday. “This recognition is a credit to his exemplary leadership of the Texas Hunger Initiative and his passion for addressing hunger from both the policy and grassroots levels.”
The commission was established in January 2014 to provide recommendations to the president and Congress about ways to reduce food insecurity in the U.S.
“Our job is to assess the state of the Union in hunger and find out exactly why people are experiencing food insecurity, find out what’s working and figure out how exactly we can address the needs for everyone,” Everett said.
The commission will meet on a monthly basis via conference call, with one call per quarter convening in-person in Washington, D.C.
Everett said hunger is a significant problem in America. Figuring out strategies to reduce poverty would help bring down numbers in American food insecurity, he said.
“Forty-eight million people are food insecure in the United States, and one in four children in Texas are affected,” he said. “We need to come up with a plan to drastically reduce food insecurity.”
Everett said he expects his experience with the Texas Hunger Initiative to help him create new ideas for the way the federal government handles food insecurity.
“We’ll be getting to make recommendations to the president and Congress, so the models will be implemented on a national level,” Everett said.
Models are strategies for combatting food insecurity in local, regional or national platforms, Everett said. One local model called a hunger coalition brings independently working organizations together to maximize their service to the community.
“A lot of times you’ll end up with gaps of service or duplications of services, so coalitions bring these groups together to develop strategic plans,” Everett said.
He said the level of impact the commission will have is exciting.
“Very few entities have the opportunity to interact on all three levels,” he said, referring to the local, regional and national levels of influence. “We’re able to interact with all of them to figure out ways to make the system more efficient.”