FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nicole Aber, (646) 627-7741
Presidential Candidate Action for Opportunity Forum to be Held in Rural South Carolina Nov. 23
Leading Poverty & Anti-Hunger Groups Collaborate on Event
Will Be Campaign Cycle’s Highest-Profile Event Aimed at Issues Central to the Lives of the 93 Million Americans Who Live In or Near Poverty
Low-income Audience Members to Ask Questions of Candidates
Leading national and South Carolina non-profit organizations will host a bi-partisan Action for Opportunity Forum, which will press all top-tier U.S. Presidential candidates of both parties to detail their concrete plans to increase economic opportunity for low-income Americans and to decrease domestic poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
Spearheaded by non-partisan national nonprofit groups Hunger Free America and A Place at the Table, the forum will be held on November 23, 2019 – the Saturday before Thanksgiving – at the Weldon Auditorium in Manning, South Carolina, in rural Clarendon County, which has a poverty rate double the national rate and a median household income 38-percent less than the national average.
Ninety-three million Americans – nearly a third of the U.S. population – live near or in poverty, and many middle class Americans fall into poverty one or more times in their lives. This event – which will be livestreamed online and open to the media – aims to be the highest-profile event of the 2020 Presidential campaign cycle to directly address the concerns of low-income Americans. Several hundred low-income people will be in attendance, with a number of individuals directly asking the candidates questions.
In addition to Hunger Free America and A Place at the Table, other non-profit groups co-sponsoring the forum include South Carolina Appleseed, the Low Country Food Bank (the Feeding America food bank for the Charleston area), the National Diaper Bank Network, Feeding Texas, the National Association of Social Workers-South Carolina Chapter, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Feast, Feeding the Carolinas, Food Research & Action Center, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus, WhyHunger, and the Progressive Policy Institute.
Chef, TV host, and food activist Tom Colicchio, co-founder of A Place at the Table said, “This event will be the highest-profile candidate forum to be driven by the concerns and questions of low-income and working class Americans. The audience at this event will challenge the outdated notion of low-income Americans as politically disengaged. In our democracy, all Americans — not just the ones who can pay lobbyists — deserve to have their voices heard.”
Said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Fee America: “Here’s a startling statistic: In the primaries and general elections of 2008, 2012, and 2016, there were more than 50 Presidential candidate debates, yet not a single question on poverty, hunger, or homelessness was asked. While this will not be a debate, it is intended to rectify that omission. Economic opportunity will be central to the outcome of the current Presidential race, especially in South Carolina, where a third of Democratic primary voters had annual incomes below $30,000 and 61 percent had annual incomes below $50,000 in 2016. We want to ensure that the road to the White House must pass through a very robust, fact-based discussion on how to slash poverty, hunger, and homelessness, rebuild the middle class, and restore the American dream.”