The 10th Annual Child Hunger Prevention Conference hosted by Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon drew in over 80 partners from across the state working to connect kids and families to nutrition. Here are some highlights from the day!
Annie Kirschner, Executive Director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, kicked off the day with a call for collaboration and partnership in child hunger prevention: “Preventing hunger among kids is a bipartisan mission that takes every tool and type of program available. To be successful, we must work across programs and organizations to ensure that every child in our state has access to a healthy meal three times a day, 365 days a year.”
Dayle Hayes, MS. RD., delivered a keynote address that echoed this sentiment and presented evidence-based research to highlight the important role nutrition plays in kids’ ability to succeed in school and beyond. Setting the tone for the day, she led with a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
The conference program embodied collaboration and a collective call to action. Attendees heard from over thirty contributors representing both community-based and statewide programs, including: Oregon Department of Education - Child Nutrition Programs, Oregon Food Bank, Newberg School District, The YMCA of Klamath Falls, John Day Canyon City Parks and Recreation, Rural Development Initiatives, The Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network, and the Western States Center. We thank all speakers for being involved, and you can read more about each presentation here.
Our goal for the conference was to inspire new and stronger programs; we believe attendees took home additional knowledge and resources to help achieve that goal. A majority of participants shared that they were likely to implement new strategies or ideas, including aspirations such as: a new school garden at a relief nursery, a sustainable summer lunch program with local partners and farmers, a backpack program in rural Oregon, a food pantry at Head Start and writing to state legislators to protect Farm to School and School Garden funding.
As we reflect on the day, we want to thank Newberg School District for the delicious food they provided, the Chehalem Cultural Center for offering a beautiful setting for us to gather, and all of those who attended and contributed to the conference. We also want to thank our sponsors, The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and CareOregon, for helping us make this event possible.