Rotarians and community leaders gathered on Friday, May 3, during the District Conference, to raise awareness about food insecurity in our south Texas region, and to celebrate the many local solutions to hunger provided by non-profit agencies, universities, school districts, and food banks in our communities.
Prior to the start of the Summit, DG Andy Hagan was interviewed by Steve Taylor of the Rio Grande Guardian, along with the Summit’s keynote speaker, Jeremy Everett, Executive Director of the Baylor University Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), Adrian Rodriguez of the Piper Corporation, Janice Sykora, Superintendent of Woodsboro ISD, Debra Franco of THI, and Elaine Hernandez, the Summit Coordinator.
After DG Andy offered his opening remarks welcoming participants to Summit, Jeremy Everett shared his motivational message of serving our most vulnerable by addressing hunger at the local level. Four panels of speakers then followed.
The first panel, moderated by PDG Lauro Solis, focused on the role and services provided by the four food banks and their networks of food pantries:  South Texas Food Bank (Laredo), Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria), Food Bank of the Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi), and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. Gracie Camarena of the Children’s Defense Fund set the stage with two stories from the field.
The second panel, moderated by Marianella Franklin (McAllen Evening RC), offered speakers representing universities and schools, the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, Baylor University THI, McAllen ISD, San Benito CISD, Brownsville ISD, and IDEA Quest Academy.
The third panel, moderated by Monica Skrzypinski (McAllen RC), focused on community services offered by Loaves & Fishes, Buckner Children & Family Services, Emily’s meals, and the Good Neighbor Settlement House.
The last event of the Summit was a special presentation of a Food Trailer to the Woodsboro ISD purchased by the District from Hurricane Harvey funds.  Superintendent Sykora shared the story of Hurricane Harvey and how Rotarians were helping to strengthen the District’s child nutrition program by providing outdoor picnic tables to act as a cafeteria for the junior and senior high school students. The Piper Corporation, represented by Adrian Rodriguez, was recognized for its generous sponsorship of the Summit.
“Inspirational Service Award” plaques were presented to all the participants “for your commitment to END HUNGER in our communities.”