Connecting with friends and family around a great meal is one our favorite activities. However, for millions of people across the country (and globe), finding the next meal isn’t as simple as clicking “Reserve Now.” Today, 48.8 million Americans live with food insecurity. 16.2 million of them are children. For the first time in over 50 years, 51% of children in America’s public schools come from families below the poverty line and struggle with hunger on a daily basis. And hunger affects more than just the appetite. Consequences of hunger can include inability to concentrate, lack of energy or motivation, poor academic performance, behavioral problems and more likelihood to get sick. We believe childhood hunger is a solvable problem — and organizations like Share Our Strength are here to find a solution.
Last week, Scott Jampol, senior vice president of marketing at OpenTable, and I were honored to attend Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Summit in Washington, D.C., to engage, learn, and share with fellow No Kid Hungry supporters. We returned to San Francisco energized and inspired by our learnings — and more committed than ever to helping end childhood hunger in America.
On Monday, April 13, more than 200 No Kid Hungry corporate and foundation partners, chefs, culinary volunteers, government representatives, and community leaders gathered in the nation’s capital to outline strategies and opportunities to advance our shared cause. A variety of esteemed speakers — from Share Our Strength founders Billy and Debbie Shore, to Share Our Strength (and former OpenTable) board member and Union Square Hospitality Group restaurateur Danny Meyer, and coach Larry Clark, founder of Life Skills for Youth. Later, supporters, including area OpenTable team members Joe Ryan, Megan Scott, Carley Thomas, Thomas Bateman, Scott Calvert, Julia Sway, and Courtney Sylvester, capped off the day by sipping and supping at Taste of the Nation, D.C., joining more than 100 of the area’s best chefs, restaurateurs, and mixologists, including chefs Bryan Voltaggio (Family Meal) and Art Smith (Art and Soul), as well as local master mixologist Gina Chersevani gathered to share their strength with No Kid Hungry. After the event, chefs, and sponsors celebrated a successful evening at Mike Isabella’s Graffiato, where toasts were held over wood-fired pizzas and delicious No Kid Hungry cocktails.