Jan 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Emhoff highlights food insecurity on first outing as second gentleman

Photo of Doug Emhoff speaking with volunteers at Dreaming Out Loud during a visit to a farm
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right) speaks with volunteers of the nonprofit Dreaming out Loud at a farm in Northeast Washington on his first solo outing. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff used his first official outing as second gentleman Thursday to learn about and raise awareness for food insecurity, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The farm that Emhoff visited at Washington, D.C.'s Kelly Miller Middle School has shifted its focus during the COVID-19 pandemic to help get food to people who are vulnerable to hunger. "Food security is a racial justice issue," said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud, the nonprofit that runs the farm.

What he's saying: Emhoff told reporters that food insecurity is "something everyone needs to be concerned about," the Post reports.

  • He added that he would raise what he learned on Thursday with Harris.

The big picture: Early in the pandemic a UN report noted that those struggling with food insecurity often have higher rates of underlying health conditions, which can weaken immune systems and "increase the risk of people developing severe COVID-19 symptoms."

  • Though the report's analysis predated the coronavirus crisis, its implications for vulnerable populations were clear.
  • Rates of food insecurity among Black households with children were nearly twice as high as they are among white households with children during the first few months of the pandemic, according to a report from Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research.
  • Rates for Hispanic┬árespondents were 60% higher than they are among white households.
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