A Hunger Summit held Thursday by the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida met its goal in bringing together representatives of food bank partner agencies, as well as community leaders, to discuss current issues and talk strategy about fighting hunger in Southwest Florida.
"We had a very productive gathering of 180 people representing all of our many agencies,” said Richard LeBer, food bank president and CEO. "This was a great opportunity for all network members to learn from one another, make connections and discuss issues: Serving clients better with dignity and respect, impacting clients' lives, and making Southwest Florida a better place to live."
The summit, “See the World Through Their Eyes,” was held at Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers. The event featured a dozen speakers and workshop sessions focusing on a range of topics, including senior hunger, poverty and its effects on nutrition, and former food bank recipients telling their success stories.
Keynote speaker Abdul’Haq Muhammed, founder and executive director of Quality Life Center,gave an inspiring speech on the topic “Poverty, Building Understanding.” "Poverty is a serious business," he said. "Regardless of hue, color, nationality, ethnicity, or language you speak, it is an equal-opportunity oppressor."
Representatives of some of the food bank’s more than 150 partner agencies found the sessions helpful. “I think it’s wonderful,” said Josephine Wilson, who manages the Lehigh Seventh-day Adventist Church pantry in Lehigh Acres. The summit helps agencies keep informed as to what is going on, she said. Wilson also learned new information about nutrition and changes in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), she said. The overarching theme for the day was the headline "See the World Through their Eyes," said Kari Lefort, food bank programs director. “It gives agencies an opportunity to learn about the clients they serve and renew their passion for this work that they do."
The overarching theme for the day was the headline "See the World Through their Eyes," said Kari Lefort, food bank programs director. “It gives agencies an opportunity to learn about the clients they serve and renew their passion for this work that they do."