We’re excited to tell you that we’re one of nearly 40 food banks and state associations in the Feeding America Network that made it into its 2015 Advocacy Hall of Fame!

To get this designation, we needed to meet 5 challenges and show how our advocacy efforts make an impact locally, at the state level, and in Washington DC.

Here’s a sampling of the actions that we took in 2015:

Challenge #1: Communicate with our local Members of Congress or their staff.

  • We hosted many of our representatives at food distribution sites and at our warehouse to discuss local hunger, show the impact of our work, and ask for their support of Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and specific programs that are up for review.
  • We visited our representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and Federal Tax Incentives for Donated Food.
  • Challenge #2: Engage our local media (print, radio or television) on policy issues.

  • We secured media coverage about our summer feeding program at the East Palo Alto Library and AB 608 (Gordon) in multiple outlets, including the Palo Alto Weekly and Chinese Press.
  • The San Jose Mercury News published an op-ed by our CEO Kathy Jackson about how our neighbors in need have to choose between food and housing.

  • Challenge # 3: Ask grassroots supporters to act on a policy issue.

  • September is Hunger Action Month and, via our digital channels, we asked our supporters to help raise awareness of local hunger by tackling an activity every day listed on our Hunger Action Month calendar, including writing their local public officials to find out what they are doing to help end hunger.
  • Challenge #4: Ask our “grasstops” allies (such as board members, business owners, corporate partners, state and local elected officials, etc.) to act on policy issues.

  • Through on-going work with the California Chapter 1 of the American Academy of Pediatrics on a range of issues, we were successful in getting the “Who’s Hungry? You Can Not Tell By Looking” photo exhibit at the California State Capital outside of Governor Brown’s office. The exhibit was up during a time when the California Association of Food Bank’s held their Legislative day. On that day, food banks from across the state met with their elected officials to discuss policy issues, including AB 608 (Gordon), CalFresh (SNAP), AB 515 (Eggman), and the Farm to Food Bank tax credit.
  • Challenge #5: Educate and/or mobilize local organizations specifically about policy issues.

  • Our Hunger Action Summit, held in partnership with Santa Clara University School of Business and Food and Agri-Business Institute on January 30, focused the topic of food as medicine. On the policy front, the event focused heavily on the Hunger-Free Kids Act and SNAP (CalFresh).
  • Last spring, we hosted two Harvest of Knowledge conferences for our partner agencies as an opportunity to broaden their knowledge on a wide range of topics. One of the topic areas was on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/CalFresh) and what they can do to advocate for the program benefits with clients, staff, their board members, and elected officials.
  • We feel so honored to be included in the 2015 Advocacy Hall of Fame and will continue to educate and advocate for policies that end hunger!