How can we focus our empathy for others to solve big social problems? The two guests on this week’s episode of Add Passion and Stir use their empathy to make the world a better place. AARP Foundation President Lisa Ryerson’s conscience led her to mission-driven work. Right now, that mission is hunger among America’s older population. “Ten million people who are 50 and older are hungry each and every day in this nation. And older adults who are hungry living in poverty don’t often ask for the help they need,” she says. Buttercream Bake Shop owner and long-time No Kid Hungry supporter Tiffany MacIsaac also carefully considers how she gives back. “It really is so hard because you… want to help everyone… but for us, food is such an important part of our life. We’ve invested most of our energy into helping with hunger,” she says. Both of these changemakers are focused on real impact. “Focus does matter when you’re trying to drive outcomes,” says Ryerson. “It’s way past time to solve for hunger in America,” she states. AARP Foundation is a founding member of the Root Cause Coalition – an Add Passion and Stir sponsor – which addresses the root causes of health disparities.
Referencing recent headlines, host and Share Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore asks about sexual harassment in the work place – especially the traditionally male-dominated world of professional kitchens. “For women, these stories are not surprises,” says Ryerson. MacIsaac agrees. “That’s what’s unfortunate. I think everyone knows it, but nobody wants to talk about it. [We need to] force people to talk about it and force people to confront it,” she believes. She also emphasizes the need to speak out when injustice or harassment is happening to someone else. Whether talking about poverty, hunger or sexual harassment, Ryerson concludes, “We are all bound together. We need to take care of each other and not be blind to injustices.”
Share in this multi-layered conversation about humanity and our sense of shared accountability.