HUNGER: Hidden epidemic in America
Hunger is silently sweeping the United States—and few of us feel it. 42 million people (13.1 million children) don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Surprisingly, this “Food insecurity” effects mostly the middle class of suburban America. A temporary financial crisis can to push a family into poverty overnight. Something as common as a job loss, death in the family, a car breaking down, a natural disaster, or reduced working wages can create a start the cycle of “food insecurity”.
And there’s another big barrier to feeding the hungry:
Nearly 40% of the people who qualify for food assistance do not utilize these programs because of internal and external shame.
Dignify Food Assistance
To win the war on hunger, Clancy Harrison is on a mission to dignify food assistance programs. She says, “Dignifying a food assistance program, humanizes the food assistance process and helps remove shame. We make our clients feel comfortable while doing one of the most humiliating things, asking for food.”
Clancy Harrison, a TEDx Speaker, Author and Food Justice Advocate, believed (at one point) hunger mostly impacted people living in generational or chronic poverty. When she became the President of a large food pantry in 2011, she also assumed people utilizing the food pantry services would be jobless citizens living on welfare who would take advantage of the system. She was wrong and now fights hunger with one seed, one meal, and one mind at a time
Facing her own misconceptions on poverty as a speaker for Congressional briefings, Clancy is now the voice and thought leader transforming the way hunger is approached in the United States.
Clancy has been called a “precision hitter who sees the problem from the inside out.” Her humor, humility, honesty, and practical strategies combined with her research-based expertise make her a highly sought after speaker. Clancy’s ability to fuse real life experiences with statistics gives her audiences “permission” to experience profound shifts in their perceptions of hunger and poverty in the United States—and to let go of any long-standing or newly found shame.
Flip the Food Conversation.
Clancy works with top organizations to transform their approach to better serve the underserved children and families, ultimately helping organizations hit outcome goals, maintain funding, and improve the health of their clients through food dignity. Clancy has learned that a one-size approach does not fit all and they way public health is approaching nutrition education is wrong.
Instead of jumping right into healthy eating education to fight disease, educators and healthcare professionals should be discussing access to a steady supply of food first. “For many clients, it may never be about the broccoli,” says Clancy, but how to put the next meal on the table. “Little did I know that many people were surviving solely on pancake mix.”
Ending False Assumptions.
In her TEDx talk, Clancy says, “Like most healthcare professionals, I was missing a big piece of the puzzle. Blinded by my own privilege I never asked my clients if they could afford the food I wanted them to eat.” Clancy assumed her patients could afford the healthier food options she prescribed her patients and made two false assumptions: Medicaid patients are the only people who struggle with hunger and all Medicaid patients use food assistance programs such as food stamps to cope with hunger. She also learned that close to 40% of people don’t apply for food assistance due to shame.
Clancy’s inspiring talks have made her a favorite speaker for organizations of all kinds, from healthcare, education and government agencies, to Congress and universities. Topics she can address include:
- Dignifying Food Assistance
- The Invisible Epidemic: The Hunger Secrets of Middle Class
- 5 Strategies to Eradicate Hunger
- 5 Biggest Myths about Hunger
- 5 Solutions to Affordable Meals
- One-Size Doesn’t Fit All: Transforming Healthcare
Clancy has shared her advice with: Parents Magazine, Huffington Post, Today’s Dietitian, The Pennsylvania State University, Feeding America, Food & Nutrition Magazine, Egg Nutrition Center, and more.
Clancy@ClancyHarrison.com | 570-881-0683