I'm deeply pleased that President Biden convened the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health - and that White House staff and the Biden Administration developed a broad program of actions that seem likely to reduce hunger over the next two years, even if the economy turns sour and Congress is not very cooperative. This action plan would put us on a track toward ending hunger in America by 2030.
I had a chance to talk with Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, at the end of the Conference. She plans to quickly establish a mechanism to monitor progress on the wide array of actions that government departments and agencies have committed themselves to pursue. The hunger advocacy community will also need to establish an external mechanism and coalition to help the Administration live up to its commitments.
A personal highlight of the Conference for me was a meet-up with Eugene Cho, now president of Bread for the World, and Eric Mitchell, now executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger. The Alliance's board decided not to share an executive with Bread after my retirement. That decision (which I opposed at the time) and Eric's strong leadership have led to an expanded Alliance membership and program. Eugene succeeded me at Bread for the World, and Bread has also thrived under a new generation of leadership. Eugene has been shaped by many years as a church pastor, and he has focused especially on strengthening grassroots organizing and digital outreach. Bread for the World and its members have pushed persistently and effectively for the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, which has now passed both houses of Congress (with broad bipartisan support) and provides a strong foundation for effective U.S. leadership against global malnutrition.