Thanks Jack! Ready to take on the Farm Bill??

May 7, 2008

See the article below for a great story on how one of our local 11 year olds is changing the world and taking action to end hunger. If you’re not quite ready to have a bill named after you, you can still be a mover and shaker by helping us take action on the Farm Bill. Go to FRAC’s website (Food Research and Action Center) to have your opinion heard and get this vital piece of legislation passed.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bill to help feed hungry named after 11-year-old advocate from Coconut Grove

from the South Florida Sun Sentinel

By Josh Hafenbrack

He’s only 11, but South Florida’s Jack Davis has accomplished a feat few can match: He’s poised to get a Florida law named after him.

The sixth-grader’s cause: Making it easier for restaurants to donate their leftover food to homeless shelters and charities.

Jack, of Coconut Grove, started writing letters to legislators after a family vacation last summer in Tennessee, where a hotel manager told him the leftovers at a breakfast buffet would be thrown away. The hotel, the manager explained, couldn’t risk a lawsuit if someone got food poisoning or had an allergic reaction.

Later, during a trip to his mother’s native Peru, Jack saw a nation with widespread poverty and came home determined to salvage leftovers headed to the garbage bin.

“I volunteered for my school’s outreach program, and we went to shelters and I saw what [food] they get,” Jack said. “They’re good people, with families and kids. I wanted to improve their living conditions.”

Two Broward County legislators, Rep. Ari Porth and Sen. Nan Rich, took up Jack’s cause, and the “Jack Davis Florida Restaurant Lending a Helping Hand Act” sailed through the Legislature. After getting unanimous approval from both chambers last week, the measure awaits Gov. Charlie Crist’s signature.

The bill named in Jack’s honor (SB276) expands Florida’s Good Samaritan food-donation law to provide a lawsuit exemption for restaurants that donate their leftovers to charities and nonprofit organizations.

Researchers say that about a quarter of the food produced in America is thrown away — enough to feed 49 million people.

“Not all restaurants have a lot of leftovers, but for the ones that do, it was tough for them to [donate the food] because of the fear of liability,” said Jennifer Garner, communications director for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, which supported the bill.

Jack’s legislative debut landed him a segment on ABC World News and a trip to Los Angeles as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Back home in South Florida, he got a standing ovation at an assembly gathered in his honor at Ransom Everglades School.”It has been amazing,” said Jack’s mother, Yasmin. “I told Jack, ‘Chances are, nothing’s going to happen. Concentrate on your schoolwork and quit writing so many letters.’ He proved me wrong.”

Jack didn’t stop at letters. He made a personal appeal at the Capitol, lobbying the governor and testifying at a House committee that was debating the bill. His mother said he was even careful to hide his political leanings — he’s a staunch Democrat and Barack Obama supporter — lest he spoil his bill’s chances in a Republican-led Legislature.

“It’s so exciting, to know that there are young people out there who are interested and want to make a difference, want to make a change when they see something that’s not right,” said Rich, a Weston Democrat. “He really pursued it.”

Added Porth, D- Coral Springs, “I haven’t ever been contacted by an 11-year-old about a bill before.”

What’s next for Jack? He said he’s not sure if he wants to run for public office one day, but in classic politician’s form, he’s not ruling anything out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: