By Rich Polt
Published November 20, 2012
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many Americans are planning elaborate feasts: mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and for the adventurous culinary palate, a turducken. However, not only are there those who can’t indulge in home cooked meals, but there are many who have no nourishment whatsoever and are completely debilitated by hunger. Not to ruin your joyous Thanksgiving mood, but every six seconds, a child dies from hunger.
Andrew Sullivan is dedicated to helping those who are hungry. Andrew is the Program Manager at Stop Hunger Now (SHN) in Philadelphia, an international organization dedicated to ending hunger by distributing food to impoverished communities.
Andrew’s desire to help others was greatly inspired by a trip he took to India while studying Business at Asbury University. There, the Pennsylvania native collaborated with village leaders in planning and implementing educational programs for children, teens, and young adults.
As the Program Manager at Stop Hunger Now, not only does Andrew help others get the food they so desperately need, but helps organize SHN volunteer programs that enrich local communities in Philadelphia.
Andrew, you’re one selfless dude. So this Thanksgiving, while I’m stuffing my face, I’ll say an extra “thank you” for you and your colleagues, doing such important work — at the holidays and year-round. Thanks for talking with us!
The 10 questions
IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?
My purpose in life is to live out my faith, be the best husband I can be, and do everything in my lifetime to create a movement to end hunger.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU “EXPIRE?”
Before I leave this earth, I would like to have the opportunity to be a father as well as see the death toll of 25,000 people dying every day from hunger reduced to 0.
IF YOU COULD MEET WITH ANYONE (ALIVE), WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM?
I would like to meet Barack Obama because I’ve never met a President of the United States. I’d ask him why he wanted to be president and why isn’t he doing more to help those living in absolute poverty around the world. I had the opportunity to meet Joe and Jill Biden last year and talk with them about global hunger and poverty which was well received because of Jill Biden’s work with the Africa famine.
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK BE?
It’s Not About Me.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU, IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
Matt Damon would play me in a movie because he is one of my favorite actors. Matt Damon is older than me and doesn’t much look like me but I feel he would do a great job capturing my personality which can be serious at times but mostly happy and easy going. I haven’t had many personal tragedies in my life but I have learned most of my life lessons from my parents as well as boldly stepping out in faith and learning as I go.
WHAT IS A BELIEF THAT IS CORE TO YOUR BEING?
I was created by a loving God who by grace blessed me to be born in a country with freedom and minimal suffering. This core belief causes me to react in a way where I want to do everything I can to serve out of love.
WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
My hero is anyone who puts others above themselves. The reason I mention that is because there are everyday people that continue to make self-sacrifices for others. For example, the story of Joanne Hatton: When Hurricane Sandy recently battered the Northeast, Joanne saw it as an opportunity for an ordinary person to do an extraordinary thing.
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I feel like I am right where I need to be but I am interested to see how I would do at being a Teacher. I’ve always enjoyed working with youth and I’ve been blessed with great mentors throughout my life so I would love to ‘pay it forward.’
TELL US SOMETHING SURPRISING ABOUT YOURSELF.
I have Crohn’s disease. Most people don’t know what Crohn’s disease is or that I have it, but it is something I live with on a daily basis.
WHAT QUESTION(s) DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED?
What advice would you give a high school or college student interested in International Development work? My advice for them would be to get a passport and travel, specifically to a developing country so they can be immersed in the daily culture. My passion for this type of work began during a trip to India when I was in College.