Child hunger and food insecurity are growing concerns nationwide, especially in suburban areas where many low-income families have relocated in search of employment, affordable housing and better schools. Last year alone, our client Loaves & Fishes Community Services provided nutrition assistance to nearly 10,000 children in DuPage County, which represents 25 percent of food insecure children in the area, according to Feeding America.
To help elevate awareness of this growing public health crisis, Loaves & Fishes recently hosted a community-wide symposium titled “Spotlight on Child Hunger” that brought together some of the country’s foremost experts to discuss the long-term impacts of food insecurity on children, their families, and the community-at-large, and to share ideas and best practices for ending hunger and the cycle of poverty in our area.
Community members from across DuPage County gathered at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL, for the event which featured a keynote address by nationally-renowned expert Dr. John Cook, principal investigator at Children’s Healthwatch and professor in pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, who discussed his research findings on the detrimental effects of food insecurity on children. His presentation was followed by an interactive discussion featuring a panel of regional and local experts, including: Dr. Theresa Hawley of the Illinois Governor’s Office on Early Childhood Development; Dr. Jennifer McNulty, Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at Edward Hospital; and Dr. Linda Van Horn, Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
To further elevate the profile and prestige of the event, LCWA secured Dr. Sandy Goldberg, clinical nutritionist and Emmy Award-winning on-air Health and Nutrition Contributor for NBC5 Chicago, to moderate the panel discussion. Additionally, we promoted the event through targeted media outreach securing pre-event coverage in more than a dozen outlets ranging from WGN-TV to Positively Naperville. We also hosted several reporters at the event itself. Following are two of the resulting articles:
Overall, the event was a huge success both in elevating the issue of child hunger and forging connections among the DuPage non-profit community. We were proud to be a part of it all!