During a time of year typically focused on holidays, time with loved ones, and preparing to turn the corner into a new year, many Americans face ongoing challenges that won’t end on January 1. For those veterans and their families struggling with food insecurity this holiday season, the new year may offer a familiar and unsettling reality that doesn’t change with the calendar.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), in partnership with Craig Newmark Philanthropies, is announcing the launch of Leaders Eat Last, a panel series that will kick off in February 2021 and focus on the complex and growing problem of food insecurity in the military/veteran community. Food insecurity was increasingly prevalent in 2020 as the financial, industrial, and logistical impacts of the pandemic created an increasingly strained environment for veterans, particularly those dealing with other service-related issues. Veterans take a selfless, leadership-focused approach to many aspects of life, but feeding themselves and their families shouldn’t be an area where they continue to sacrifice. People across the country have stepped up to lend a helping hand, but effective, long-term solutions are still elusive.
“I am so encouraged to see the incredible outpouring of goodwill already,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Americans are rallying around veterans and military families and our role is to ensure that all of this support reaches those who need it through the most effective programs.”
The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s panel series will gather experts and leading solution-providers to provide broader awareness on this issue and to learn more about the challenges and the solutions, and Dr. Molly Jahn, an expert on food systems and national security, is advising the Bob Woodruff Foundation with this new effort. Planned topics include:
- Defining Food Insecurity, including the difference between food insecurity and hunger, what systems influence these issues, where the current breakdowns occur, and the link to wellness.
- Food Insecurity and Wellness, including how food insecurity affects people more broadly.
- How do we resolve food insecurity for the military/veteran community when the solutions are not veteran-specific?
“Food insecurity is a complex issue, often involving other challenges facing our veterans – issues like financial strain, mental and physical wellness issues, and equitable access,” said Dr. Meg Harrell, Chief Program Officer for the Bob Woodruff Foundation and BWF’s lead for the series. “Our panel series will tackle these difficult and complicated issues and offer some important insights on how we can address this issue more effectively.”
These panel sessions will be streamed by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and will be available publicly – more information on the date for the first session and where to view the panels will be available in mid January. This series is part of a larger initiative through a partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, which has taken a leading role in combatting food insecurity for all people.
“While food insecurity may be a complex issue, one thing is simple for me – it’s unacceptable that there are veterans and their families out there who are struggling. We owe them a lot and I’m working with many of the best organizations, like the Bob Woodruff Foundation, to develop sustainable solutions,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
To register to learn more about this upcoming panel series, sign up by clicking here. To help the Bob Woodruff Foundation as we support veterans and their families, particularly during this holiday season, please visit www.bobwoodrufffoundation.org.
About the Bob Woodruff Foundation:
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans, including suicide prevention, mental health, caregiver support, and food insecurity. To date, BWF has invested over $76 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.