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Behind the Scenes at RNC In Tampa

       “Man he is cooler than the other side of the pillow” one man swooned to me after meeting the Academy Award winning actor Jeff Bridges at a No Kid Hungry event at the Republican convention in Tampa. Jeff and I and a team from Share Our Strength were there to continue the effort to build bipartisan support for our effort to end childhood hunger.

      At an event a few blocks from the floor of the convention, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell introduced Bridges by saying “I’m proud that I was the first Republican Governor to adopt the No Kid Hungry and that others have followed, and I urge every Governor in this country to get behind the No Kid Hungry campaign.” (Earlier in the day we introduced a special film festival screening of the Food Network’s “Hunger Hits Home” documentary that features both Jeff and Gov. McDonnell.)

     Upon their arrival on Monday the delegates were greeted by a Tampa Bay Times editorial, triggered by our teachers survey of hunger in the classroom, that said: “Leaders of Share Our Strength are wisely building partnerships with local anti-hunger organizations, government agencies, corporations and heads of education and business and political groups. Such partnerships can focus on increasing participation in federal nutrition programs and obtain easier access to federal funds to feed our children. By all indications, this model is succeeding…. A valuable lesson of this collaboration is that earnest people who see themselves as stakeholders can find ways to solve difficult problems for the greater good — perhaps even eliminating childhood hunger.” @

     Political conventions are a bit like foreign countries with their own language, traffic patterns, cultural icons, and visa requirements. My first Republican convention fit that bill, especially as a lifelong Democrat. But there were many friendly faces in the crowd, and as both Gov. McDonnell and the editorial above made clear, a sense that ending childhood hunger may be one of the few issues on which both parties can agree.

     But it was also clear that efforts like these to reach a larger audience, broaden our base, and to intersect with the national conversation are critical to our success and critical to our efforts to be a voice for the voiceless. That’s the principal reason we are creating a pilot for a new public radio show talk show and crowdfunding it through Indiegogo @  For social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and engaged philanthropists it will be a place to share your strength. Check it out.

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