About This Episode

The pain and suffering children in poverty endure, is a choice.  NOT their choice, not their parents’ choice, but a policy choice made by politicians in Washington DC. In this very special episode of Add Passion and Stir, we will examine the plight of the millions of American children who live in poverty and struggle with hunger.  We provide a 360o view of the issues from many perspectives.  Including those of
  • Author and Child Advocate David Ambroz;
  • Congressman Jim McGovern;
  • Second Harvest Food Bank executive director Rhonda Chaffin;
  • New York Times’ senior writer Jason DePerle;
  • Research scientist Dr. Renee Ryberg;
  • Harvard Professor Dr. Jack Shonkoff;
  • Pediatrician Dr. Kimberly Montez; and
  • American Academy of Pediatrics CEO Mark DelMonte

Resources and Mentions:

David Ambroz

David Ambroz


David Ambroz is a national poverty and child welfare expert and advocate. He was recognized by President Obama as an American Champion of Change. Currently serving as the Head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon, Ambroz previously led Corporate Social Responsibility for Walt Disney Television, and has served as president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission as well as a California Child Welfare Council member.

After growing up homeless and then in foster care, he graduated from Vassar College and later earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law. He is a foster dad and lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Rep. Jim McGovern

Jim McGovern

U.S. Representative

Congressman Jim McGovern is a Democratic member of the U.S. House, representing Massachusetts' 2nd Congressional District. He assumed office in 1997 and his current term ends in 2023. As of the 116th Congress, McGovern was Chair of the House Committee on Rules. Prior to his election to the House, McGovern worked as an aide to Rep. John Joseph Moakley (D-Mass.) from 1982 to 1996 and was appointed to lead the Moakley Commission Congressional Investigation into the murder of six Jesuit priests by the Salvadoran Army in 1989.

Rhonda Chafin

Rhonda Chafin

Executive Director

Rhonda Chafin has been the Executive Director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee since 1993. She is a native of Bristol, Tennessee and a graduate of Virginia Intermont College with a B.A. Degree in Business Administration. She is a graduate of the Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, Unicoi County and Johnson County Chamber of Commerce Leadership programs. Ms. Chafin led the food bank to successful Building Capital Campaigns, relocated the food bank to Gray, Tennessee in 1998 and 2013 to our current location in Kingsport, Tennessee. From 1998 to present, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee has continued to grow by starting new initiatives to help feed more people in need; Kids Café, Food for Kids-a back pack kids program, Prepared and Perishable Rescue Foods Program, Mobile Food Bank and Mobile Pantry Programs. In 2019, the food bank distributed approx. 12.1 million pounds of food to over 140 non-profit charities and 70 mobile sites that feed the hungry in the eight-county region of Northeast Tennessee.

Jack Shonkoff

Jack Shonkoff

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; and Founding Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Renee Ryberg

Dr. Renee Ryberg

Research Scientist

Dr. Renee Ryberg is a research scientist in the education research area at Child Trends. Trained as a sociologist and demographer, Dr. Ryberg’s work aims to create equitable environments to help children and youth thrive throughout their education and into adulthood.

Mark Del Monte

Mark Del Monte, JD

CEO/Executive Vice President

Mark Del Monte, JD serves as the CEO/Executive Vice President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The organization serves 67,000 pediatrician, pediatric medical subspecialist, and pediatric surgical specialist members.

Dr. Kimberly Montez

Kimberly Montez, M.D., M.P.H

Associate Professor of General Academic Pediatrics and Social Sciences and Health Policy

Kimberly Montez, M.D., M.P.H., is an associate professor of general academic pediatrics and social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She is the associate program director for the Pediatric Residency program, co-director of the Health Equity Certificate Program and director of the Health Justice Advocacy Certificate Program in conjunction with the School of Law. She is also the associate director in pediatrics of integrating special populations for the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity and vice chair for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

Jason DePerle

Jason DePerle

Senior Writer

Jason DeParle is a senior writer at The New York Times and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Previously he served as a domestic correspondent in Washington for The Times. Prior to joining The Times, Mr. DeParle was an editor at The Washington Monthly since 1987. In 1987, he was one of 15 Americans chosen to receive a Henry Luce Foundation scholarship to work in Asia for a year.  He lived in, and wrote about, a Manila slum. Mr. DeParle was the winner of the George Polk Award in 1999 for his reporting on the welfare system. He is also a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.