2020 Advocacy Summit Recap:  A Conversation with Mark Shriver and Chef José Andrés

 Jose Andres and Mark Shriver

A screenshot from the Fireside Chat with Mark Shriver and José Andrés.

It’s finally here!

Last night, the 2020 Virtual Advocacy Summit kicked off with a fireside chat between Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) President Mark Shriver and renowned chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, José Andrés. These two powerhouse personalities talked about everything from the throat-healing powers of wine to immigration, but the main topic of the evening was the importance of advocacy.

Save the Children, SCAN and World Central Kitchen have been responding to the COVID-19 crisis for months now. Though their tactics are different, the goal is the same – to make a difference for families in need.

Of course, during a global pandemic, that can seem easier said than done. But as José put it, “it’s not a problem to solve, it’s an opportunity to seize.”

Chef Andrés has been solving that problem for many years. He mentioned how his parents instilled the values of helping and going above and beyond early in life. That lesson stayed with him. In fact, his first restaurant was across from the Missing Soldiers office. Now World Central Kitchen is serving close to a quarter million meals a day!

Similarly, Save the Children has been assisting children since 1919. This year, Save the Children responded to the pandemic by launching Save with Stories with No Kid Hungry and actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams. Save with Stories features celebrities reading children’s stories and raising money to support food banks, mobile meal trucks and community feeding programs. They are also providing educational toys, books and worksheets to children who are affected by the crisis. To date, more than 225 stories have been read and Save the Children has been able to give food and critical educational resources to more than 100,000 children in 200 communities across the country. Additionally, No Kid Hungry and its partners are helping provide up to 800,000 meals per day to kids affected by school closures.

SCAN has been busy at work as well, advocating for children and families affected by the coronavirus. Advocates across the U.S. have been sharing their stories about how the crisis has affected them, and thousands of people are sending messages to Congress in support of the child care industry as it struggles to stay afloat. SCAN advocates are also raising their voices for vulnerable children worldwide and those who are seeking asylum and safety in the United States.

During their conversation, Mark and José touched on the importance of working together during challenging times. They argued that no matter our political affiliation, race, gender, place of birth or anything else, we are all human and deserving of empathy.

“At the end of the day, we all have the same values.” José said. “We love our families, we love our country. We are all the same.”

When the hour was up, Mark and José had inspired many advocates to act. And that, at the core, was the message that they delivered throughout the evening. That no matter the struggle, you can be part of the solution.

As José put it in a very powerful conclusion to the session, “At the end of the day, it is the small gestures by all of us. When you put them all together we become a very powerful army of good. We need to weaponize empathy. We need to make sure that empathy wins and if we’re going to be contagious, be contagious of good things.”

Learn more about the 2020 Virtual Advocacy Summit, and what’s in store for next week!

Want to watch the full conversation? View it here.