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MU’s Fight Against Food Insecurity

To help find solutions to food insecurity, Millersville will hold the “Zero Hunger – Fighting Food Insecurity Regionally” conference.

Food Insecurity is a societal challenge on a regional and national level and impacts both higher education and PreK through 12 settings. The PA Department of Human Services reports that 1.7 million Pennsylvanians are impacted. To help find solutions, Millersville University will hold the “Zero Hunger – Fighting Food Insecurity Regionally” conference at the Ware Center on May 18 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dr. Victor DeSantis, vice president for external affairs and SDG conference coordinator, explains why this conference is important. “In general, food insecurity is a problem across the globe. The hunger rate has increased in many places over the past several years, making it more important than ever to address the root causes and develop collective solutions. As a part of our strategic plan at MU, we have committed ourselves to support the Sustainable Development Goals, and we cannot do that without recognizing the ways that these 17 issues impact our own community. As an educational institution, we contribute to the regional dialogue by convening annual SDG conferences, each covering one of the 17 Global Goals.”

Throughout the day, the conference will have various panel discussions on topics including:

  • Identifying the Problem: Current Research on Food Insecurity
  • Addressing Hunger in PreK-12 Settings
  • Sharing Best Practices among Higher Ed Institutions
  • Advocating for Policy Solutions
  • Supporting and Mobilizing the Nonprofit Sector

DeSantis explains the conference will begin by framing how food insecurity affects the local region and then progress through presentations with various speakers that address the work being done to decrease food insecurity and areas that still need improvement.

The speakers and panelists include:

  • Daniel A. Wubah, President of Millersville University
  • Vanessa Philbert, CEO of Community Action Partnership (CAP)
  • Zackary Zook, Senior Policy Research Manager at Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
  • Senator Carolyn T. Comitta of the 19th District serving Chester County
  • Sally Zubairu-Cofield, MPH, State WIC Director
  • Keila Torres Penn Manor School District, Social Worker
  • Lisette Revera School District of Lancaster, Site Coordinator for the Families in Transition
  • Marian V Wilson, Ph.D., Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Derek Wadlington, Besch/Clarkson College Chaplain, Wilson College instead of just Chaplain
  • Mary Beth Williams, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs, Millersville University
  • Jacob Marino, Director of Millersville University’s HUB
  • Julie Rhoads, VP – Health & Nutrition at CAP
  • Brad Peterson, Executive Director of Power Packs Project
  • Karen Rice, School of Social Work, Millersville University
  • Jennifer Frank, School of Social Work, Millersville University

The conference is open and free to the public. “Anyone interested in learning more about food insecurity in our region can attend. This will be an opportunity to network with like-minded people and learn more about what is being done in our area to address this challenge,” DeSantis explains.

DeSantis emphasizes the importance of the conference and encourages everyone to attend, “Our speakers are all incredible experts and leaders in the region. They each bring a unique and deep well of knowledge, and they are all working tirelessly to fight food insecurity and other issues people face in south-central Pennsylvania.”

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