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Hunger Free America CEO stops in Jackson as part of journey across the country, spreading awareness on food insecurity

Hunger Free America CEO stops in Jackson as part of journey across the country, spreading...
Hunger Free America CEO stops in Jackson as part of journey across the country, spreading awareness on food insecurity
Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Hunger Free America’s CEO, Joel Berg, stopped in Jackson Saturday as part of his coast-to-coast journey to visit food-related sites.

To mark his 20th year as Hunger Free America’s leader, Berg is driving over 8,000 miles and visiting more than 24 states.

“I’m highlighting not only that hunger is a problem, but that we need public policy responses to it.”

He said it’s a serious problem that comes with serious solutions.

“Making sure that jobs pay a living wage, ensuring that health care and housing and childcare are affordable, and making sure there’s an adequate nutrition assistance safety net program like SNAP,” Berg said.

He said food insecurity is a particular problem in Mississippi despite a lot of progress being made in the state over the last few decades.

“Wages here are very low,” Berg said. “They’re higher than average unemployment rates in many communities, and safety net programs are more meager here.”

Popular Jackson chef and caterer Nick Wallace recently became one of the anti-hunger organization’s newest board members. He said his decision to do so was an easy one.

“At times when we wasn’t growing a lot at our garden in Edwards, Mississippi, SNAP benefits were big in my family,” Wallace said. “I’m a product of that.”

Wallace said food insecurity was made worse last year and that Saturday’s event is about giving people the information needed to help combat it.

“The pandemic really made a whole lot of things blurry — it’s blurry now,” Wallace said. “This right here only helps clear it up. It’s not gonna clear it all the way up, but this right here is definitely going to point it in the right direction.”

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