Together at the Table summit seeks poverty and hunger solutions

A summit to discuss poverty and food insecurity will be held on campus until Friday. The Together at the Table summit, hosted by the Texas Hunger Initiative, will welcome speakers to discuss solutions to hunger and poverty.

The summit, which is composed of both plenary and breakout sessions, will feature speakers like former senator Tony Hall and former congressman Frank Wolf, as well as leading economics scholars Craig Gunderson and Joe Sharkey. These and other speakers will address solutions to poverty using legislative, charitable, and university research-based approaches.

The summit’s purpose is to convene leaders in various sectors, from government to nonprofits, to find the best possible solutions to pervasive social problems.

“What we preach is that no industry and no sector can address hunger and poverty alone. It really requires us to work in a coordinated effort,” said Jeremy Everett, director of THI.

The summit is an opportunity to bring leaders together for what Everett likens to a large staff meeting. About 400 participants are registered for the event, which will take place in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Everett is eager to welcome the event’s participants to see what Baylor is doing to alleviate food insecurity in Texas and throughout the world.

Today’s keynote addresses will include Dialogue on Faith and Public Service with former senator Tony Hall and former congressman Frank Wolf. The two former legislators were able to work together across the political aisle (Hall is a Democrat and Wolf a Republican) to see solutions to poverty and hunger. Their conversation will be moderated by Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr.

Other plenary discussions include a conversation on the National Commission on Hunger, which advises President Obama, and a discussion of the health impacts of hunger. Breakout sessions between the plenary events will allow the summit’s participants to engage in more personal conversations. Each discussion is meant to streamline the approaches of multiple sectors, including the church and the government, to counter nationwide poverty.

Students who don’t attend have ample opportunity to get involved with THI’s efforts.

Plano senior Riya Rahman is an intern with THI. She encourages students to get involved with THI’s internships, annual mission trip to Washington, D.C., and volunteering through programs that provide food-insecure children with meals during the summer.

“As a student I never would have though this is something I’d be interested in,” said Rahman. “But to have this opportunity at Baylor and get to see it happen, it’s one of my best experiences at Baylor. At the last summit, I felt like I was seeing change happen before my eyes.”

Finding these collaborative solutions is fundamental to THI’s work to end food insecurity in Texas and throughout the country. Housed within Baylor’s School of Social Work with 12 branches throughout Texas, the project has been able to use the university’s research capacities to effect verifiable changes in the state of Texas.

Everett said that food insecure individuals in Texas have been able to access over 100 million meals through the efforts of THI. The group is so successful because it streamlines the efforts of faith-based institutions, government bodies, non-profits, and other groups.

Food insecurity, lack of access to consistent meals, disproportionately affects the state of Texas. 18.4 percent of Texas households experience food insecurity, and over one in six Texans lives in a state of poverty. THI’s aim, and the aim of the other organizations participating in the summit, is to address the causes of food insecurity and alleviate its effects.

Call 254-710-6900 to register for the summit, find out pricing and for schedule details.