Interested in working with me?
Here’s a little bit of what I’m all about.
My personal and advocacy mission is to eradicate the stigma associated with food insecurity (chronic hunger) in the United States, as well as partner with organizations who are also seeking to create food justice.
As a Registered Dietitian and food educator for almost two decades (learn more about my life and experience here), I’ve come to understand that for most people – especially parents concerned about raising healthy children – food is a stressful and complicated topic.
This stress is compounded for families struggling with food insecurity, not only because their budget limits their options, but also because there’s so much stigma and shame associated with food assistance programs. I witnessed this firsthand as President of the Al Beech West Side Food Pantry in Kingston, PA. My experience there challenged so many of my own presumptions, and gave me an entirely new outlook on what hunger is really about here in the United States.
Many people do not utilize food assistance programs because of internalized shame. They’re afraid to be seen as taking advantage of hand-outs, and many have experienced direct shaming from peers and strangers alike when they do make use of these options. The process of receiving assistance can also be detrimental to a person’s sense of dignity, and make them feel as if they are different and separate from the rest of society.
The reality is that most individuals who end up in situations of food insecurity are hard workers in unexpected, temporary situations. Sudden life changes, like job loss, pregnancy, a medical emergency, or the death of a family member can place people in financially difficult positions at the drop of a hat.
This is why I believe that if we are serious about ending childhood hunger (and childhood obesity), we must collectively shift the way we talk about food assistance and poverty in the United States. Food assistance programs should be seen as a hand up—not a hand-out!
Whether you’re a healthcare organization, non-profit organization, a for-profit company, or an educational institution, if you’re trying to improve the health of your clients, the way you connect to your client is essential. In my career I’ve seen many groups overlook this step, and want to jump right into telling people what and how to eat. This deprives the clients of feelings of dignity and personhood, and ends up pushing away individuals and families who are deeply in need of the services.
As a consultant, I will guide you to make shifts in both attitude and engagement. I’ll help you to dignify food access, and to offer nutrition education that makes your clients feel empowered about their health instead of hopeless. You’ll see positive results that start with your organization and employees, directly affect your clients, and ripple out to your entire community.
As a speaker, I energize audiences as much as I educate them. Nutrition is a subject that feels confusing and stressful to pretty much everyone, no matter what socioeconomic class you belong to. Moreover, we know that hunger is a nonsensical epidemic in our society, even if we haven’t experienced it ourselves. Food insecurity relates to all people in one way or another. My keynotes are intended to inspire people from all walks of life to take action in solving this problem—and I have plenty of solutions!