People from all over the world are making Des Moines their destination this week; to come up with better ways to feed the world's hungry. World food prize week kicked off Tuesday morning at the Downtown Marriott.
A big part of the week, is the Iowa Hunger Summit. This year, organizers announced “The Iowa Hunger Directory.” It is a comprehensive list of Iowa Organizations combating hunger locally, and abroad. Organizations that will use the directory; say they are looking forward to having that new connection.
“It’s really important to network to understand people in the developing world,” said Merry Fredrick, the Executive Director of Self Help International (and Iowa based International program that works overseas in Ghana, West Africa, and Nicaragua Central America. “We`ll be a part of that and we`ll share our ideas and maybe even get better with everything that we`re doing to alleviate all hunger.”
Merry Fredrick's organization is just one example of a group started in here in Iowa that travels across the world to help people dealing with hunger and poverty first hand.
“Our goal is to inform people about what’s going on in Tanzania and encourage more activity and understanding and joint development work,” said Phillip Latessa, the President of the Board of Directors of “Empower Tanzania”.
But it wasn’t just members of organizations that attended the summits Tuesday. Roger Engstrom is a retired farmer, who spent much of his life volunteering overseas. He said his interest is what is happening, and changing, is stronger than ever. He said while he's intrigued by what has changed since he was active in the cause, he's also learning that hunger is still a big problem, but that’s why he stresses how important the efforts done by the World Food Prize really are- especially those taking place right here in Iowa.
“It’s amazing but Iowa is one of those places where there’s a great interest in international matters and there’s a long history of international activity, both governmental and private,” said Latessa.
In the last year, more than 26 million pounds of food have been donated to fight hunger in Iowa.