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Got Food? A Social Innovation Forum on Hunger in Southeastern Ohio held Friday

A forum to discuss hunger in Southeastern Ohio and find out what local organizations are doing to combat the problem is being held at The Ridges Building 21 Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Organized by the School of Communication Studies and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, the forum is designed as an avenue for students to discover what local resources are available to combat hunger across the region, with the hope of formulating a plan to be an institute for change.

Ohio University freshman Ashley Williams is a research scholar within the Voinovich School who originally thought the University needed a forum to discuss hunger after participating in a similiar discussion at Ohio State University. After forming a partnership with the School of Communication Studies, a plan was formulated to hold a forum that’s designed to be an intimate roundtable discussion with several community leaders who work to combat hunger on a daily basis.

Those participating in the discussion include Bob Fedyski of Rural Action, Athens City Schools' Assistant Superintendent Tom Gibbs, Chris Linscott of Good Works, Sherri Oliver of Live Healthy Appalachia, Erik Peterson of Community Food Initiatives, Chris MacNeal of the Southeastern Ohio Regional Food Bank and Kerri Shaw, field education instructor in the University's Department of Social and Public Health.

“We really wanted to get a really diverse group of people with backgrounds from all different types to join in the conversation,” Williams explained. “It’s not just about giving people money and having them get food for themselves. This event is to realize what has been done, what people have tried to do to fix the problem, and understand what socially innovative programs there are, like teaching someone how to farm or how to start a business that’s sustainable.”

Williams' goal is to formulate a plan among students to help tackle the hunger problem in Southeastern Ohio, and to create an action plan to be an institute of change.

“We can keep talking about what’s going on and what we can do, but a lot of people just stop there,” she said. “I hope to create a plan for taking action right after the discussion.”

As part of the forum, Avalanche Pizza will be available for lunch at The Ridges at 1 and the forum will begin at about 2 p.m. A shuttle to the event leaves from the bottom of Baker at 12:45 p.m. and returns when the event is finished.