In this episode, Elizabeth Davenport and Anna Lutz have a conversation with Beverley Wheeler, Ed.D., the director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, an organization that works to end hunger in the nation’s capital. We highlight the pandemic’s effect on increased food insecurity and discuss ways in which policies and legislations are working to mitigate this.
We also discuss:
- How COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on food insecurity in households of color, women, and children.
- What public schools are doing to try to combat food insecurity
- How the pandemic has actually increased access to certain federal nutrition benefits such as SNAP (e.g., with an online application and by mailing Pandemic EBT cards)
- The biggest challenges for food insecure populations during the pandemic
- How the Pandemic EBT card has increased access to nutritious food
- The problem with basing SNAP benefits on the thrifty food plan versus the low cost plan
- Ways we can de-stigmatize food insecurity and larger bodies
- The association between food insecurity and adverse health outcomes
- The findings of the Grocery Store Report in D.C.
Beverley Wheeler became the director of D.C. Hunger Solutions in 2015. In this role, she is responsible for leading the efforts to improve public policies to end hunger, reduce poverty, promote nutrition and increase the availability of healthy affordable food in low-income areas; maximize participation in all federal nutrition programs (SNAP, school meals, early childhood nutrition, WIC and summer meals); and educate the public about both the stark reality of hunger’s existence in the nation’s capital and the real opportunities for effective solutions.
Dr. Wheeler has over 30 years of progressive experience in all phases of public and private sector policy development working in process development, crisis resolution, civic engagement, community/economic development and planning as well as policy development and implementation. She has 20 years of experience working with the District of Columbia (DC) government and the DC Council at the executive level as Executive Director of the State Board of Education and Neighborhood Action; Chief of Staff to Phil Mendelson; and Special Assistant to three City Administrators. She is the former president and CEO of Center City Public Charter Schools.
She holds a B.S. in Social and Decision Science and a M.S. in Management and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Master’s and Doctorate in Education from Harvard University. She has a long history with Carnegie Mellon. She is a past member of the CMU Board of Trustees and past President of the CMU Alumni Association. She is currently a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the H. John Heinz III College and Director of College Engagement for the Carnegie Mellon Black Alumni Association.