For 35 years, this radio DJ and activist has been helping Americans get enough to eat.
Author Layla Schlack Photography Moya Mcallister
WHO: BILL AYRES
MISSION: To feed 50 million hungry Americans. “When I was a student, I marched with Dr. King on Washington,” Ayres says. “We’re trying to create that kind of movement to fight hunger.” His organization, WhyHunger, directs people to soup kitchens and food pantries, helps organizations get funding and works with government agencies to make relief more accessible, while trying to improve the quality of food and the lives of farmers who grow it.
MOTIVATION: “My cofounder and friend Harry Chapin used to say that hunger was an obscenity, and hunger in the richest country was an even greater obscenity,” Ayres says. He was just learning about the issue of worldwide hunger in the 1970s, when he was a Catholic priest and rock ‘n’ roll DJ. He met Chapin on his show, and the two started World Hunger Year (now WhyHunger).
ROCKIN’ OUT: Ayres is still heavily involved in the music world. He works with Yoko Ono and Hard Rock International on “Imagine There’s No Hunger,” an annual fundraiser in which Hard Rock sells wristbands to help WhyHunger.
For more information, go to whyhunger.org. The National Hunger Hotline is at 866-3-HUNGRY.