John O’Keefe ‘25
Phoebe grew up with a strong desire to help and protect others, especially those closest to her within her community. “Information around food and nutrition, that is something I was never taught,” Phoebe said in regard to this growing insecurity across the nation. Last year, as Phoebe was preparing to go to college, she realized that she could help others directly through outreach. Thus, during a gap year, she worked directly with elementary school students to provide lessons and plans to focus on food access in her community.
After just a short time on the Hill here as a first-year, Phoebe’s invitation to the White House conference coincided with a panel discussion at Holy Cross. Along with Jean McMurray, executive director of the Worcester County Food Bank; Erin McAleer ‘02, CEO and president of Project Bread, Winton Pitcoff, director of the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Phoebe discussed “Building the Political Will and Moral Courage to End Hunger in America.” Hundreds of students and members of the HC community were in attendance at the event, as each panelist shared their thoughts on hunger as a prevalent economic issue across the nation. “Food education is so important to creating an understanding and a connection to the process that brought the food to your plate, how to eat healthier, and why it matters,” Wong notes. Panelists went on to describe the ways in which national infrastructure and resources can be prioritized to focus on ending this crisis for good. Wong encouraged Holy Cross students to learn about these issues and get involved in their own communities as advocates for food access and justice.
At the Conference in Washington, Phoebe had the opportunity to meet and discuss with business and political leaders regarding the hunger crisis in America. In a panel with members of leading hunger-focused organizations within the country, Phoebe discussed looking locally and growing partnerships to expand local food options in communities across America. Other featured speakers included New York City mayor Eric Adams, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and more political and federal leaders from the health and service community.
Ultimately, Phoebe reflected on her experiences and the way Holy Cross has aided her in this start to her impactful career, “I feel like I’ve definitely found my people here. The support that I get from my people here and the connections that I’ve made are just something I know that I will remember for a lifetime.”
Image of Holy Cross’ “Building the Political Will and Moral Courage to End Hunger in America” panel courtesy of Michael Ivins/Holy Cross
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