FNS staff recall highlights from White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health

FNS staff recall highlights from White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health

Written by Sasha B Chamberlain, MS, RDN, Public Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition Security

October 05 2022

Like many of our colleagues in the USDA across the country, federal employees from the Food and Nutrition Service last week were glued to White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. Many showed up in person to contribute their ideas and host the event along with White House staff, and hundreds more were tuned in by default. It was an unforgettable day, full of excitement and a renewed commitment to the important work that our agency is doing to improve food and nutrition security.

Conference and related matters National Strategy (PDF, 776 KB) Provides an important opportunity to recognize the role of FNS in reducing hunger, increasing healthy eating, and alleviating health disparities. Our new reportLeveraging the White House Conference to Advance and Promote Food Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, highlights the many ways FNS will continue to take steps towards the bold goals set during the conference. As Minister Vilsack said in his book, Introductory notes“Something like this hasn’t happened in over 50 years. Let’s keep today’s momentum going in a new, meaningful and powerful way so that we can fully meet this important moment – ​​for our children, our community and our country.”

Here’s what FNS staff said about the event and what lies ahead:

  • “It was an inspiring day – I was amazed by the energy and excitement of the conference and the enthusiasm from those in attendance to work together to achieve the conference’s goals.” — Jackie Haven, Deputy Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
  • “I was excited to hear medical professionals definitively confirm the relationship between nutritious food and overall health. I felt honored to be part of the great mission of FNS while listening as the speakers shared their personal experiences with food insecurity, the support our programs offer and their desire to move it forward.” Dr. Patty Bennett, Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region
  • “Engaging with diverse, forward-looking individuals in various sectors of government, academia and non-profit organizations, while listening to people willing to share their lived experiences reflects the comprehensive hands-on approach needed to provide nutritious food for all and eliminate diet-related diseases.” – Judge Wright, Senior Technical Adviser, Office of Policy Support
  • “The conference provided a great opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished and look forward to what can still be done. I was inspired by the tremendous commitment and energy from all the speakers and excited to hear throughout the conference that FNS programs are a huge part of the solutions.” – Tim English, Associate Director, Regional Operations and Support
  • “It was an honor to participate and represent the FNS SNAP team at this historic event. My role as Pillar 3 blogger and small group session facilitator enabled me to network with conference participants and speakers in a positive way in support of the Zero Hunger 2030 vision.” – Laura Griffin, Senior Policy Advisor Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • As Chef Jose Andres said, school meals are the ‘Trojan horse of goodness! “I look forward to using my opportunity as a Fellow in the Presidential Administration to work across FNS and other agencies to devise innovative and equitable ways to expand nutrition education and food access between the school lunch table and the family dining table.” — Stacy Vieira, Program Analyst and Presidential Administration Fellow, Office of Child Nutrition Programs
  • “I appreciate seeing the wide range of individuals who participated in the conference, especially young people. I am excited to see the substantive changes inspired by the conference and proud to support the goals of ending hunger and improving health outcomes. It really is an exciting time to work for FNS!” – Alexey Schnakenburg, Program Analyst, Office Western Regional
  • “It was a very powerful and motivating conference, and for the sake of our generation and those to come, let’s keep the momentum going!” – David Hering, Dietitian, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
  • “This event was a great reminder that FNS and its partners do so much more than just provide food – they connect people to their communities, provide food security and enable the most vulnerable to make healthy choices that affect not only themselves, but the generations that follow.” – Katey Yoast , Principal Data Analyst, Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
  • “During the conference, I was inspired and motivated. The potential for collaboration within government and between the public and private sectors is exciting – and I am grateful to have a role in improving the lives of our fellow Americans.” — Patrick Farrell, WIC Program Specialist, Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
  • “It was a historic day that changed the lives of all Americans, whether they realized it or not! I was especially excited to hear this administration acknowledge the connection between promoting healthy eating and reducing preventable diseases.” — Tiffany Royce, Dietitian, WIC, Southwest Regional Office
  • “Incredibly grateful that the administration convened this summit to focus on the food security issues that continue to ravage our nation. This renewed focus will help continue the important work of ending hunger in our nation.” — Brian Solomon, SNAP E&T Program Analyst, Western Regional Office
  • “Ambassador Rice’s ending to the patriotic 4-H rock stars and standing by all the young attendees was a strong end to the day, ensuring that the voice of youth is part of everything we do!” – Sheila Fleshaker, Food Security Special Assistant
Category / Topic:
Food and Nutritional Security

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