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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Company strives to stomp area food insecurity

Food insecurity is not just an issue on a global scale. Even at A&M, some have to worry where their next meal is coming from.
Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco, a company focused on working to decrease food insecurity, will speak Monday at A&M about local food security in the community.
“During his speech, Jeff will lay out three solutions for a more food-secure world — technology, choice and trade,” said Jackson McReynolds, Elanco consultant and Class of 2006. “All of these are important when we talk about feeding nine billion people by 2050. And with the celebration of the centennial of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s birthday, we’re excited to be at Texas A&M talking more about one of those solutions — innovation.”
Angel Futrell, events and outreach coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said while food insecurity has a global impact, it also hits home in Aggieland. Futrell said reports show that in Brazos County, 22.3 percent of residents are “food insecure” and 74 percent live below the poverty line. Futrell said these statistics are above the Texas average, which is 18.3 percent food insecurity and 67 percent of residents living below the poverty line.
To address this local concern, Futrell said Simmons will meet with the 12th Can, a student-run food pantry affiliated with the Brazos Valley Food Bank that opens two times per month to give food to students, faculty and staff of A&M who are struggling with food security.
“Our main goal is to combat food insecurity at Texas A&M,” said Derek McKee, co-chair for 12th Can. “We’re a food pantry that operates very similarly to a local food pantry. They come to us when we’re open and we distribute food to each person as they come in.”
McReynolds said Elanco will donate to the 12th Can on Monday as part of its “Enough” movement, which promotes the spread of food insecurity awareness.
“I think, honestly, really what it comes down to is the 12th Can is all about selfless service and giving back to their community,” said Funlola Fagbohun, advisor for the 12th Can. “I think it’s really great that Elanco is recognizing the 12th Can but not because of what the 12th Can is or who’s a part of it, but because they want to be part of the same mission as the 12th Can, which is decreasing food insecurity in the community.”
McReynolds said students should walk away from the afternoon lecture with a better idea of the reality of food insecurity.
“It’s really about becoming more aware of food security and how they can personally be involved, and raise awareness of food security,” McReynolds said. “A lot of students today don’t understand food security and what it’s like being on the edge of food insecurity.”
McKee said it’s hard to think that a classmate may be hungry, but that it is a reality at A&M, something he has learned from working with 12th Can.
“I am shocked at how many people actually need our help, and how much we’ve been able to impact people,” McKee said. “We’ve had several people come into our doors and let us know that if they hadn’t received our product when they did, they wouldn’t have been able to eat that night. It’s been very inspiring and also it’s pushing us to do more because I want to make sure that everybody has that ability to eat.”
The lecture will be at 4 p.m. Monday at the Agrilife Center.

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