Tom Wingert, the outgoing coordinator of La Salle University’s Exploring Nutrition program, spoke to our Online Journalism class last week about his efforts to end hunger and promote nutrition in poor, urban communities. Wingert, 26, graduated from La Salle with a degree in Political Science and Economics. Since then, he has put his collegiate studies to good use. Along with his Exploring Nutrition projects, he blogs for The Huffington Post and does advocacy work for an organization called Ignite Good, which he will join full time in February.
Wingert’s talk centered around the idea that cooperation and consolidation are important when it comes to promoting nutrition in local communities. While working on La Salle’s Exploring Nutrition program, Wingert frequently encouraged local food banks such as Philabundance and SHARE to become less territorial and more committed to collaborative efforts in specific Philadelphia neighborhoods, particularly Germantown. Internally, he has gotten La Salle students involved in fundraising drives to purchase fresh food for stores in the Germantown area.
His message of cooperation also extends to his work with Ignite Good. Ignite Good is an advocacy group which encourages young millennial leaders to use their talents to better their communities. Wingert will be traveling to 20 cities over the course of 2014 to help Ignite Good mobilize nationally. He will also be blogging on The Huffington Post’s “Impact” section to spread his message to a wider audience.
When asked about Germantown’s desire for access to healthy food, Wingert said that “[Germantown] feels so slighted by the rest of the community” and that its residents are extremely interested in increasing the number of nutritional food stores in their neighborhood.
As we begin to explore the Germantown area, it will be interesting to get a firsthand perspective of the food choices that are available in this neighborhood, and what different residents think about them.