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Biden turns to Steph Curry, DoorDash and others to advance nutrition and hunger goals

In this 2021 file photo, NBA star Steph Curry talks to kids in Oakland, Calif., about nutrition and exercise.
Kelly Sullivan
/
Getty Images
In this 2021 file photo, NBA star Steph Curry talks to kids in Oakland, Calif., about nutrition and exercise.

The White House is turning to companies like DoorDash and Instacart, and athletic superstars like basketball's Steph Curry in its push to try to reduce hunger in America.

It announced new commitments on Friday to a list of pledges made late last year as it rolled out the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and the White House is hoping for more pledges by August.

Last year, the administration set the lofty goal of ending food insecurity and diet-related diseases by 2030. The White House has asked Congress for more money and other changes to hunger programs.

But faced with a lack of congressional appetite to make quick changes, the White House is trying to work with partners outside of Washington. Private companies have so far pledged more than $8 billion in investments to help reach the White House goals.

"This is a lot of work that we are doing and we're really proud of it but we recognize and appreciate we can't do it alone," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a White House event on Friday hosted by Susan Rice, Biden's domestic policy adviser, and featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "We really need the private sector."

Spain's Queen Letizia and first lady Jill Biden speak with chef Jose Andres, of the World Central Kitchen association, during a visit of a reception centre for Ukrainian refugees on June 28, 2022.
Oscar Del Pozo / POOL/AFP via Getty Images
/
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Spain's Queen Letizia and first lady Jill Biden speak with chef Jose Andres, of the World Central Kitchen association, during a visit of a reception centre for Ukrainian refugees on June 28, 2022.

Biden named some big sports stars to a council to help

The White House has long relied on the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition to help spread its message. President Biden's council is led by renowned Chef José Andrés and professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics Elena Delle Donne.

On Friday Biden added a star-studded list of people, including basketball player Steph Curry and his wife, cookbook author Ayesha Curry, and Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.

Andrés applauded the Currys for their work supporting restaurants and feeding people in need during the pandemic, "in the middle of a very dark hour for America."

"They are powerful because they are boots on the ground," Andrés said.

How the private sector comes into play

New private sector pledges announced Friday included a promise from DoorDash to make more produce and healthy products available in its food delivery service by 2025 and to offer access to food stamp grocery delivery in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Instacart, a grocery delivery service, said it wants to highly promote fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables on its platform and work with health care providers to create "virtual food pharmacies" to advance the idea of using food as medicine.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.