CHICAGO -- On Friday, President Barack Obama named Ertharin Cousin to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Rome-based U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture. A long-standing advocate for hunger-relief programs, Ambassador Cousin served Feeding America as a Board Member (2002-2004) and Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer (2004-2006).

"Ambassador Ertharin Cousin has been and will continue to be a leading advocate for hungry people in the United States and around the world," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. "As a leader within Feeding America, Ambassador Cousin vastly accelerated visibility of domestic hunger with heartfelt passion and tireless determination."

Prior to her work with Feeding America, Ambassador Cousin served as a board member for International Food and Agriculture Development (1997-2000). Her professional experiences in retail food have included assignments as Senior Vice President Public Affairs, Albertsons Foods (2001-2004); Group Vice President Public Affairs, Albertsons Foods (1999-2001); and Vice-President Government and Community Affairs, Jewel Food stores (1997-1999). During her service as White House Liaison at the State Department (1994-1996), Cousin was awarded the Meritorious Service Award.

"I am fully confident that Ambassador Cousin will advance international programming that will help nourish the world with her exceptional enthusiasm and commitment," Escarra said. "She remains one of the great hunger-relief advocates of our time, and we applaud President Obama for choosing her. We send Ambassador Cousin our congratulations and pledge Feeding America's national support in helping hungry families not only to survive, but thrive."

Feeding America is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States. Each year, the Feeding America network provides food assistance to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States, including more than 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. Our network of more than 200 food banks serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Feeding America network secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. The Feeding America network supports approximately 63,000 local charitable agencies that distribute food directly to Americans in need. Those agencies operate more than 70,000 programs including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, Kids Cafes, Community Kitchens and BackPack Programs.

SOURCE Feeding America via PR Newswire.