The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread unemployment in the United States-and a marked increase in people needing food. Such calamity makes Duquesne University's Sister Rosemary Donley, S.C., seem prescient when nearly a year ago she chose hunger as the topic for the 2020 McGinley-Rice Symposium.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturn, the closing of businesses and historic unemployment, people who have never worried about how they were going to feed their kids suddenly are," said Donley, nursing professor and the Jacques Laval Chair for Justice for Vulnerable Populations at Duquesne University.

The 11th annual McGinley-Rice Symposium, The Face of the Person Who is Hungry, will be held Thursday, Oct. 22, and Friday, Oct. 23. Hosted by the School of Nursing, this year's event will be held virtually and include both live and pre-recorded sessions. The nursing school also has posted a list of food resources available in the greater Pittsburgh area as well as numerous local food banks and organizations that provide food and aim to end hunger.

"Everybody has seen it on television, in the news, the long lines of people in cars waiting at free food distribution events. And when you talk to people who work at the food banks, they'll tell you that they are seeing people that they have never seen before," Donley said. "There is almost a desperation about it because there's worry about rent or mortgage payments, electricity bills, car payments and their kids aren't in school, and then, there's worry about their food."

The issue is especially hard on poor families, the aged and children. "It has become more of a public health problem than it has been," she said.

The agenda for the two-day symposium includes a variety of breakout sessions, plenary panels and a poster question-and-answer session. Topics cover everything from advocacy, community approaches to improving nutritious food access and food insecurity during a pandemic to the impact of hunger on family wellbeing, social justice and hunger, and feeding the hungry with "rescued" food.

This year's keynote speakers are:

Advocacy for Persons Who are Hungry, Michele Sumilas, executive director of Bread for the World, Washington, D.C.

Transforming the Traditional Food Bank System to Meet Needs and Address the Root Causes of Hunger, Lisa Scales, president and chief executive office of the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, Duquesne, Pa.

Rescuing Fresh Food to Feed the Hungry, Leah Lizarando, co-founder and chief executive officer of 412 Food Rescue, Pittsburgh.

Unmasking Hunger on College Campuses, Alia Pustorino-Clevenger, director of student life assessment and co-curricular community engagement, Duquesne University.

Visit the symposium website for more information, including registration and cost; contact hours for nursing, psychology, education and social work; additional event sponsors; and more.


Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The Universitys academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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October 20, 2020