Mayor John Giles Makes Efforts to End Hunger
City of Mesa Mayor, John Giles, spoke this past weekend at the kickoff event for White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities.
Mayor Giles is the Chair of the Mayors Alliance to End Childhood Hunger, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 174 mayors from 46 states and Washington D.C. working to ensure every child has the healthy food needed to thrive. Mayor Giles is also an executive board member for AZBrainfood, a Mesa-based nonprofit organization that discreetly provides a backpack of food to feed hungry schoolchildren on the weekends. He joined Arizona Horizon to discuss more about this cause.
Why were you back in Washington and what did you do there?
“President Biden convened the first conference in 50 years on the topic of hunger at the White House last October, and coming out of that conference was this campaign where Biden said, ‘Let’s tackle this problem of hunger,” said Giles.
“There’s really no good excuse for children in particular to be experiencing hunger, so this is really a national campaign to end hunger in the United States,” said Giles.
What did you say in your address?
“This is not a one size fits all for all communities. The best thing about mayors is we have the power to convene, so the players that I’m going to convene in Mesa are going to be different than players that are convening in Saint Louis, or Miami, or other cities. There is a lot of best practices that we can steal from one another, so that’s the point of this organization is to share those best practices but also to inspire mayors on the local level to prioritize this issue,” said Giles.
Are there things we can see in the early parts of this campaign?
“Here’s another example from my community in Mesa that I shared with the White House last week, there’s a wonderful organization called Arizona Brain Food, started by a group of moms. It’s entirely run by volunteers. Last week, I was there to help them celebrate their one millionth backpack that they sent home with kids on the weekend, who were experiencing food insecurity. Now that’s a wonderful story and a horrible story all at the same time, but that’s one example of what you can do at the grass roots level to address this issue,” said Giles.