HOUSTON (Sept. 15, 2014) — Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn and Atlanta chef Asha Gomez will host a CARE advocacy dinner in Houston this week to raise awareness about global hunger. More than 840 million people around the world do not have enough to eat.
“Food is a universal amongst all of us,” Mendelsohn said “We all need it; we all work with it. And it’s very important that chefs or just human beings in general understand what the rest of the world is going through to get food to their plate.”
Mendelsohn and Gomez will share their personal experience traveling with the poverty-fighting organization CARE to Peru earlier this year. During the trip, they visited with farmers and families in the region of Ayacucho to learn how communities were able to gain access nutritious food.
With the help of CARE, some of the families participated in farming cooperatives so they could sell a steady supply of high-quality crops to their local markets and command higher prices. Others started microsavings groups – known as Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) – in which group members learned basic financial literacy skills and expanded their small businesses. Click here to see photos from Mendelsohn and Gomez’ trip
The chefs will explain how the CARE trip inspired them to become advocates for CARE, particularly around modernizing the U.S. food aid system. Several of the programs Mendelsohn and Gomez saw in Peru focused on increasing the capacity of local farmers and encouraging consumers to buy locally rather than ship food in from abroad. Many countries still rely on food shipped in from the U.S. during times of emergencies, even though it may cost more, take longer and disrupt the local markets.
The dinner will take place at Chef Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly restaurant, which embraces local cuisine by telling the story of Houston’s food culture. Chef Shepherd, who joined the group for the dinner, often works with local farmers and fisherman to source his menu.
Mendelsohn and Gomez will discuss the importance of working with policy makers to create change. Both chefs attended CARE’s National Conference in March and met with policy makers to push for a more flexible food aid system that allows both shipping food and purchasing it locally.
“Without policy and reform and change, you cannot actually do what you need to when it comes to humanitarian aid,” Gomez said. “It’s important that we become voices and become advocates for people across the world who need our help.”
Both chefs are available for media interviews.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 87 countries and reached more than 97 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
Washington, D.C.: Stephanie Chen, CARE, firstname.lastname@example.org, (Office) +1-202-595-2824, (Cell) +1-404-819-6638