Small Business Spotlight: WhyHunger's Mission To End Hunger

Joe Connolly
November 27, 2019 - 5:00 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As millions of Americans get ready to sit down for a Thanksgiving feast, we are reminded just how fortunate we are.

WhyHunger, a national leader in the movement to end hunger, is working to address the root causes of hunger and the deep inequalities of poverty. 

It tackles the systemic issues facing the more than 60,000 feeding agencies across the country that are serving more than 37 million people.

Noreen Springstead, the executive director of WhyHunger, said through Hungerthon and other fundraisers they invest in building the capacity of those agencies to do their jobs well in the communities in which they reside.

"Hunger in America has been a 50-year systemic problem that we have primarily addressed through food aid," Springstead tells Joe Connolly in this week's Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank — "Community Banking From Montauk To Manhattan."

"It has not solved hunger, the rate of hunger has been around 12 percent of the population consistently for the last 15 years so WhyHunger is really looking to address why are people hungry and how can these 60,000 agencies leverage their power to create change and pathways out of poverty so people don't go through this revolving door at the soup kitchen," she adds.

The organization recently surveyed feeding agencies across the U.S. and found more than 50 percent of people who go for emergency food at a kitchen, pantry or food bank are employed and more than half of people on food stamps are working.

Springstead said this proves a living wage is the most important step to ending hunger.

WhyHunger, co-founded by Long Island singer songwriter Harry Chapin in 1975, brings together celebrity supporters including Yoko Ono Lennon, Carlos Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, and more and partners with companies like Entercom (owner of WCBS Newsradio 880) for several weeks of messaging on air and digital platforms to raise awareness to the cause.

"We've been really fortunate to have the genesis of the organization be rooted in music and that has kept us going in a lot of ways," Springstead said. "They have a tremendous platform to help us make a difference."

WhyHunger recently implemented term limits for its board members, which Springstead said has created dynamism in the organization again.

"We have had incredibly dedicated board members, many of who were on the board for more than 25 years, so there's a lot of reverance for that but it becomes a little static. Just in this last year alone we've brought on six new board members from the NAACP, from A&E, from Facebook, from entrepreneurial backgrounds and that I can already see is plating the seeds for big moves for us in the future," Springstead said.

WCBS 880 has several unique experience packages up for auction for this year's Hungerthon fundraiser. You can even bid your own on-camera Small Business Spotlight interview and lunch with Joe Connolly.

Proceeds go towards community-based solutions to end hunger in our country.

Since launching over three decades ago, Hungerthon has raised millions of dollars in the fight to end hunger and invest in community-driven solutions to build social justice for all. To find out more information and support this year’s Hungerthon, visit Hungerthon.org and follow the conversation on social media via #Hungerthon.