By Carson Lewis | Contributor
Baylor University hosted a summit on how to solve hunger and poverty issues this Wednesday through Friday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the SUB, bringing together professionals from the private and public sectors to collaborate.
The ‘Together at The Table’ summit and hosted speakers from various nonprofits, including Max Finberg, the CEO of Growing Hope Globally, a Christian organization committed to fundraising food security programs.
Finberg spoke about fighting the crisis of 18,000 people dying from malnutrition each day and described the dilemma of looking at this problem in isolation from its causes. The issues are more complex and can’t simply be solved with “handouts,” Finberg told the audience.
“People need to eat, but if we can provide them the training and the tools so they can buy their own food, it doesn’t matter if the funding dries up, they’ll be able to respond, and we see that over and over,” Finberg said.
Paola, Kan., freshman Moorea Long agreed with Finberg’s goals and thought his message of long-term solutions for solving hunger seemed like a more effective approach.
“I think it’s fantastic that they are not only helping people fight hunger, but they are giving them the tools to pursue a better life,” Long said. “They can take these skills with them for the rest of their lives to put themselves and their family members in the best situation possible.”
About 200 people attended the summit’s luncheon, hosted on the 5th floor of Cashion Academic Center, and attendees included representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and PepsiCo. The summit was hosted by Texas Hunger Initiative, a project headquartered on Baylor’s campus that focuses on researching and implementing policies that work to end hunger in Texas communities.
Jared Gould, the state field director for Texas Hunger Initiative, described how the occupation diversity shown within the audience worked to benefit the fight against hunger.
“There’s not a single aspect of any facet of our society that can solve [the hunger crisis],” Gould said. “So in order to bring that together, we need to be collaborative; and in order to do that we have to increase capacity; and to do that [we] have to bring together elected officials, non-profit agencies, folks from the business sector, folks from the education sector and higher education.”
Finberg encouraged the audience to look to inspire others to solve the problems posed by the hunger crisis, as they had been inspired to do.
“I know each of you has someone who’s inspired you,” Finberg told the audience. “What you’re able to do in your roles, day in and day out, continues to inspire others. How is it that we can continue asking that question? Who else can we bring to this table? How else can we reach out and invite them to do just this?”