WASHINGTON, September 6, 2012– The White House will welcome 11 “Champions of Change” today for their commitments to strengthen food security in the United States and internationally. The Champions of Change program is a part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of "champions" are recognized for their work.    

According to the White House, the individuals recognized today “know that hunger is an issue that touches the lives of people all around us. Using innovative approaches, these champions are striving to ensure that no man, woman, or child goes hungry and inspiring others to do the same.”

In its announcement, the White House noted that almost 1 billion people do not have access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food, and 16 million children in the United State experience food insecurity each year. 

“Establishing global food security isn’t just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world.”

The following list includes the names and bios of the 11 people recognized today: 

Sally Allocca; Birmingham, AL

Reverend Sally Allocca is the founder and Executive Director of Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources (P.E.E.R., Inc.). For the past twenty years, she has also served as pastor of East Lake United Methodist Church. P.E.E.R., Inc. is Sally's vision for transforming the diverse, low-income neighborhood where she resides into a thriving community that is empowered with resources for healthy living, learning, and working. P.E.E.R., Inc‘s projects include running the bustling East Lake Farmers Market, the East Lake Community Kitchen, and the East Lake Mobile Market. These programs increase food security and improve nutrition for those in need, especially children and senior adults, in the eastern area of Birmingham, AL.

Terrol Johnson; Sells, AZ

For more than 15 years, Terrol Johnson has been creating innovative responses to epidemic rates of nutrition-related disease in the Tohono O'odham Nation in southern Arizona. As Co-Founder and President of Tohono O'odham Community Action (TOCA), he has led efforts to build a tribal food system that provides healthy, culturally-appropriate foods in one of the poorest communities in the United States. Terrol’s work ranges from founding two farms that grow traditional crops and programs that introduce healthy tribal foods into school lunches to revitalizing the tribe’s cultural traditions that promote healthy living, In 2009-10, Terrol walked from Bar Harbor, Maine to his home in Sells, Arizona to bring awareness of how Native American families and communities can take control of their health by embracing tribal and other healthy foods. Through his leadership, Terrol has inspired a new generation of tribal members to create a brighter future. 

Joshua Williams; Miami Beach, FL

Joshua Williams is a middle school student at Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Florida. At the tender age of five, Joshua became passionate about helping those in need. He believes that no child should ever go hungry and that everyone should have access to one of the basic necessities of life: food. Almost seven years later, Joshua and his organization, Joshua’s Heart Foundation, along with many committed volunteers, is working to stomp out worldwide hunger one community at a time. To date, Joshua’s Heart Foundation has distributed over 400,000 pounds of food to those in need and they have coupled that assistance with teaching some recipients how to prepare healthier meals. Joshua hopes to touch the hearts of young people everywhere, so they can be inspired to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Kenneth M. Quinn; Des Moines, IA

On January 1, 2000, Kenneth M. Quinn assumed the presidency of the World Food Prize foundation in Des Moines, Iowa following a 32 year career as an American diplomat which focused significantly on refugee and humanitarian relief efforts and culminated with his service as U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia. For the past 12 years, Ambassador Quinn has endeavored to build the World Food Prize, founded by the Father of the Green Revolution, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, so that it could be seen as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture” and inspire efforts to alleviate hunger around the globe. Each October, more than 1,400 people from 75 countries gather in Des Moines for the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, which has been called the "premier conference in the world on global agriculture." With strong bipartisan support, Ambassador Quinn’s foundation also operates a unique youth education program for high school students in America, and hosts the annual Iowa Hunger Summit. Under his leadership, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates was just completed in October, 2011 with the purpose of inspiring future generations to emulate Dr. Borlaug by confronting hunger.

Kathy Goldman; New York, NY

Kathy Goldman is a long-time community activist who has been working on food, hunger and poverty issues since 1965. In 1980, she founded the Community Food Resource Center, now part of the Food Bank for New York City, and served as its Executive Director until 2003. Her advocacy work has focused on passage of federal food programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition programs. Her organization has closely watched how federal nutrition assistance programs are administered and utilized in New York City, and the impact on the 2 million low-income New York City residents. Kathy was one of the founders of the Food Bank for New York City in 1983 and has worked on other innovative programs, including efforts to empower low-income communities and families to take an active role in their nutrition and health. She currently serves as co-director of Community Food Advocates, Inc., with long-time colleague Agnes Molnar. Kathy lives in NYC and has three children and five grandchildren.

Jovita Flores; Chicago, IL

Jovita Flores has successfully brought school wellness into focus as a social justice issue to motivate parents and community leaders to take action supporting healthy eating and opportunities for physical activity at school. Jovita currently serves as the manager of Parents United for Healthy Schools/Padres Unidos para Escuelas Saludables at the Healthy Schools Campaign, where she works with parents to create healthy lifestyles for their families, support wellness programs in their children’s schools, and advocate for health-promoting policies at the district level. Jovita is a mother of four and lives in Chicago’s Little Village community.

Erik Schultz; Sun Valley, Idaho

Erik Schultz is the founder of Thriive, a nonprofit based in Sun Valley, Idaho, whose mission is to use a unique blend of capital and compassion to invigorate small businesses and inspire a culture of social responsibility in challenged communities globally. His professional career is dedicated to applying philanthropic capital to poverty-reducing initiatives that harvest the energy of the free market and couple it with social and environmental justice. Socially responsible small businesses are an often-overlooked contributor to food security, and Erik is allocating more of Thriive’s capital resources to help grow smallholder farming and livestock operations, greenhouses, nurseries, and food processing businesses. These small enterprises then “pay forward” their capital loans by donating food, livestock, seedlings, and crops to impoverished community members—making the entire chain of beneficiaries more self-reliant.

Claudia Llanten; New York, NY

Dr. Claudia Llanten is Project Director and Country Representative for Peru for the Catholic Medical Mission Board, where she leads the Unidos Contra La Mortalidad Infantil/United Against Infant Mortality project. Dr. Llanten has devoted her life to serving those most vulnerable in communities around the world. She worked as a physician in her native Colombia, leading her hospital’s effort to provide social and clinical services focused on child growth and development, including nutritional interventions for families living in poverty. Driven to alleviate childhood poverty and hunger, Dr. Llanten utilized her clinical and surveillance skills to conduct a detailed baseline survey on health and nutritional conditions for children under five in three regions of Peru. This baseline survey provided the basis for Dr. Llanten’s current work to end childhood malnutrition in Peru, which emphasizes education and the provision of resources (including gardens, guinea pigs, and chickens) to increase food security for families. 

June Henton; Auburn, AL

Dr. June Henton is Professor and Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University in Alabama and since 1985, Dean Henton has provided leadership for teaching, research, and outreach programming in subject areas that range from nutrition and food to consumer behavior and health. The commitment of the college is to produce graduates who are not only professionally competent, but globally aware and socially engaged. In this vein, June became involved in the UN World Food Programme’s Student War on Hunger Campaign, which led to the partnership of 300 institutions of higher education under the banner of Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH). UFWH’s vision is to mobilize universities in the U.S. and abroad to make fighting hunger a core value of higher education institutions worldwide. She also led Auburn University in establishing its Hunger Solutions Institute to connect with ideas that work for ending hunger.

Govind Kannan; Fort Valley, GA

Dr. Govind Kannan, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) in Georgia, has spent his entire career in applied research and outreach empowering small and underrepresented farmers with the knowledge and technical skills needed to sustain successful agricultural enterprises. Dr. Kannan strongly feels that farms are the key to revitalizing rural communities and strengthening food security, and he played a lead role in establishing a research consortium of 1890 land-grant institutions focused on integrated plant-animal farming systems to promote economic stability and environmental stewardship on limited resource farms. Under his leadership, the institution’s global outreach has increased tremendously, with growing numbers of FVSU scientists traveling to other countries to conduct training programs, and scientists, students, producers, and government officials from various countries in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe visiting the university’s Small Ruminant Research Center to learn about sustainable goat and sheep production methods each year.

Dana Harvey; Oakland, CA          

Dana Harvey has spent the last decade in nonprofit management and development in areas of environmental justice, food security, education and economic development. As the Executive Director of Mandela MarketPlace, she guides the development and growth of Mandela as a small business incubator that sets an alternative model for building community health and wealth in West Oakland. She directs her organization toward a community-led food system that combines increased access to healthy foods, with economic development to build community health and wealth. Dana led a concerted campaign resulting in the June 2009 opening of Mandela Foods Cooperative to address Oakland’s longtime status as a food desert. Since then, Dana has catalyzed other successful food enterprises which improve health, create wealth, and build assets in low income communities.


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