Florida Matters Town Hall: Food Insecurity In Polk County

Florida Matters Town Hall: Food Insecurity In Polk County
Florida Matters Town Hall: Food Insecurity In Polk County

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.

We hosted a town hall on this issue on April 17 at Florida Southern College’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talked to people who are on the front lines of this fight against hunger and deprivation about what they've learned, and we also held a Q&A with our audience of about 80 people.

This week on Florida Matters, we listen to highlights from our town hall on food insecurity in Polk County.

Our panelists include:

  • Patricia Strickland, Executive Director of KidsPACK, which provides food for students to take home on the weekends.
  • Whitney Fung, a doctoral student at USF's College of Public Health. Whitney was previously an agent with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Program in Bartow.
  • Steve Turbeville, President and CEO of Lighthouse Ministries, a faith-based shelter in Lakeland that offers comprehensive services to the needy, and also distributes food boxes to area churches.

We also learn about some non-profits in Polk that are taking creative steps to alleviate hunger. Florida Matters reporter Julio Ochoa explains that some of the things they've learned are surprising.

Original Broadcast Date: 
04/19/17

Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

Host:
Carson Cooper

Carson Cooper is a familiar voice. He has become a favorite of WUSF listeners as the local host of NPR's "Morning Edition" on WUSF 89.7 since he took the job in 2000. Carson has worked in Tampa Bay radio for more than two decades. He has been the host of WUSF 89.7's Florida Matters since its launch in 2006. During that time he has reported on a variety of issues of importance to the community, including growth management, education, transportation, affordable housing, taxation, public health and the environment.

Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

Host:
Robin Sussingham

Robin Trohn Sussingham is a reporter and program host at WUSF Public Broadcasting, and is the producer of Florida Matters. She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and also has an extensive background in print reporting. She was born in Lakeland and often reports about Polk County.

Contact Information

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