Experiencing so much loss through the pandemic has eroded our sense of safety and security. If income was lost, people may be left worrying about how they will feed themselves and their families. The disproportionate impact is not an accident. While hunger and poverty rates have declined nationwide, people of color consistently have far higher rates of hunger and poverty than whites. Racial inequity is a root cause of hunger and ending hunger in a lasting, sustainable way requires identifying and resolving structural inequality.
Gina Plata-Nino has devoted much of her early professional life to addressing the many causes of hunger and ensuring that low-income individuals never have to place other needs above feeding themselves or their families. As a staff attorney at Central West Justice Center in Worcester, Gina Plata-Nino manages the food security project, a partnership of the Worcester County Food Bank. She works with state and federal agencies to eliminate systemic barriers to food access. She utilizes her skills as a vehicle for motivating and supporting lasting changes that bring about social justice and build grassroots leadership in her community.
Casey Burns, an alumna of Clark University, is the Director of the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester. She is an experienced program manager and community organizer. She brings her experience as the Director of Programs for the Regional Environmental Council to her current role with the Coalition engaging with community members, organizations, and institutions to implement the Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan.