Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel, calls on the public to come together in impacting world hunger and exacting positive change.

Mediaplanet: Why is hunger such an important issue in our nation today?

Cody Foster: Anything that affects 49 million people has to be considered important, but this issue in particular—having enough food to sustain yourself—is just so basic and foundational. There are many tough issues we face as a nation, but before we can have a real impact on any of them we first have to be able to feed people. Food is life itself, and you don’t get much more basic than that.

MP: What are some ways our readers can get involved?

CF: We think most people want to help, but the scope of the problem intimidates them. It feels too big for them to have an impact. The first thing people can do is just give thought to the way in which they can best contribute. If it’s through a monetary donation, of any size, then do that. If it’s by helping out at their local food bank or meal site, then do that. They might want to take on more of an advocacy role, helping to get others involved.

If they don’t know what their options are, they can find a food bank or a meal site in their community and reach out to them and ask how to help. If everybody just does what they can, we’ll be able to make a real difference.

"There are a lot of opportunities and one of the keys to capitalizing on them will be community engagement, including local businesses."

MP: What inspired you to get involved in the fight to alleviate hunger in America?

CF: It was a couple of things, really. We’ve always felt a strong desire and responsibility to give back to the community that has supported us. We’ve done a lot to support various causes, projects and organizations, both individually and as a company over the past 10 years. As we’ve grown as a company, we just started feeling that maybe we wanted to get more focused in our charitable efforts—try to make a bigger impact in a couple of key areas.

Around the same time, we were working with Tony Robbins and he was telling us about how he was working with Feeding America on the 100 Million Meals Challenge. We knew we wanted to be involved; not only to support Tony, who has been a great strategic partner for us, but also because it was a way for us to have an impact in so many areas that were important to us. When you can help people have some sense of security in knowing that they’re going to have food to eat, today, tomorrow and for the days after that, then you can begin to have an impact on poverty, on health care on educational attainment. Hunger impacts so many areas of a person’s life; once you can meet that need, it makes addressing the other issues people may be dealing with that much easier.

MP: How do you see the fight against hunger in America changing over the next five years?

CF: Hopefully in the next five years we’ll have achieved a level of awareness that allows us to become even more focused on solving the problem. We’d like to see more community engagement focused on prevention.

So, how do we prevent food waste? We probably throw away more food than most countries even have access to, but if we can get organizations working together collaboratively we can become even more efficient in seizing opportunities to minimize that waste. Maybe we can begin to see more community gardens as cities tear down abandoned homes and buildings. There are a lot of opportunities and one of the keys to capitalizing on them will be community engagement, including local businesses. We’re hopeful we’ll begin to see more and more businesses taking an active civil role, focused more on impact to the whole community, beyond mere shareholder benefit.