Texas Hunger Initiative honored by both White House & State of Texas
Passionate people and innovative ideas — it takes both to tackle a project as large as ending hunger. Fortunately, Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) is blessed with an abundance of both, and the nation is taking notice.
Last month, a THI student volunteer was honored by the White House, and the organization as a whole was recognized by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The awards highlighted those two important aspects of an organization that is making an impact in the fight against hunger: people who care and difference-making ideas.
Just nine people from across the nation were chosen as White House Champions of Change, and only one of them — Baylor senior Riya Rahman, a Texas Hunger Initiative volunteer — was still in school. Rahman, a political science major from Dallas, was honored at the White House last month for her work fighting child hunger. Two summers ago, she volunteered at THI’s Dallas office, where she discovered a new passion. She now works for Texas Hunger Initiative as an undergraduate policy analyst, focusing on child nutrition programs. After graduating in May, Rahman plans to advocate for the hungry and to advance the cause of ending food insecurity for children.
Closer to home, Texas Hunger Initiative was also recognized in February for innovation in devising strategies and connecting resources to end hunger. THI received the Fresh Perspectives Award from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) for innovation in improving the state’s summer meals program.
THI’s research has helped build community engagement strategies that have resulted in getting millions of additional meals to Texas students each summer — meals that were already budgeted and paid for, but were previously going to waste instead of reaching the people they were intended to serve.
For families battling food insecurity, the summer months can be difficult, as children’s one guaranteed meal each day — lunch at school — is no longer an option. But thanks to THI’s plan that engaged organizations across communities and promoted available summer meals in areas of need, thousands of children and families across the state took part in the summer meal program for the first time. The Fresh Perspectives Award was presented in Austin at the TDA’s Summer Good Service Program Conference last month.
Sic ’em, Riya Rahman and Texas Hunger Initiative!