The work food banks do to feed Americans who have fallen on tough times has taken on a whole new significance because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the saddest and most frustrating ironies of food waste in the US is that we waste close to 40% of our food supply every year while one in seven Americans struggles with hunger. Working to bridge the gap between these two tragic failings of our food system is our nation’s network of food banks.
Susannah Morgan is the CEO of the Oregon Food and has spent 24 years working in food banks across America. In this episode, she candidly shares the lessons she’s learned in a career in food banks, what she’s learned about the root causes of hunger in America, and how concerned individuals can best support food banks and work to reduce hunger in this country.
She clears up some of the most common misconceptions about hunger in America, outlines why donating money is always better than donating food to a food bank, and explains how food banks are really the last line of defense against hunger, despite being the one most of us think of when we think of hunger relief. We close by discussing how addressing homelessness and healthcare in America are interconnected with addressing hunger and why she hopes to one day put herself out of business.
This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to truly understand why hunger is such a tough problem to solve even in wealthy countries and will give you a newfound appreciation for your local food bank.
- Learn more about the Oregon Food Bank on their website
- Susannah asked that you talk to your elected officials and ask them to include addressing hunger in their efforts. You can find your elected officials’ contact information here
- Susannah mentioned that the modern-day food bank owes a huge debt of gratitude to the groundbreaking work of the Black Panthers free breakfast program
- Susannah recommended reading the book “Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression” by Janet Poppendieck to get a better historical context on hunger in America.
- Susannah loves cooking Indian food for friends and family, especially lamb curry!
- Susannah’s go-to karaoke song is “Rocket Man” by Elton John
- Susannah admires the CEO of Feeding America, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot