Latinas among “Champions of Change” for Strengthening Food Security
This week the White House welcomed 11 Champions of Change – including Latinas Jovita Flores and Claudia Llanten – who have committed themselves to Strengthening Food Security in theUnited Statesand around the world. These individuals know that hunger is an issue that touches the lives of people all around us. Today, almost 1 billion people do not have access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food, and 16 million children in theUnitedStateexperience food insecurity each year. Using innovative approaches, these champions are striving to ensure that no man, woman, or child goes hungry and inspiring others to do the same.
“Today’s champions are examples of the groundbreaking work being done to tackle hunger at home and abroad. These individuals are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “Establishing global food security isn’t just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity. We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world.”
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
Jovita Flores has successfully brought school wellness into focus as a social justice issue to motivate parents and community leaders to take action supporting healthy eating and opportunities for physical activity at school. Jovita currently serves as the manager of Parents United for Healthy Schools/Padres Unidos para Escuelas Saludables at the Healthy Schools Campaign, where she works with parents to create healthy lifestyles for their families, support wellness programs in their children’s schools, and advocate for health-promoting policies at the district level. Jovita is a mother of four and lives inChicago’s Little Village community.
Dr. Claudia Llanten is Project Director and Country Representative forPerufor the Catholic Medical Mission Board, where she leads the Unidos Contra La Mortalidad Infantil/United Against Infant Mortality project. Dr. Llanten has devoted her life to serving those most vulnerable in communities around the world. She worked as a physician in her nativeColombia, leading her hospital’s effort to provide social and clinical services focused on child growth and development, including nutritional interventions for families living in poverty. Driven to alleviate childhood poverty and hunger, Dr. Llanten utilized her clinical and surveillance skills to conduct a detailed baseline survey on health and nutritional conditions for children under five in three regions ofPeru. This baseline survey provided the basis for Dr. Llanten’s current work to end childhood malnutrition inPeru, which emphasizes education and the provision of resources (including gardens, guinea pigs, and chickens) to increase food security for families.