We’re happy to share that we’ve been honored as a member of Feeding America’s 2017 Advocacy Hall of Fame! Forty two food banks across the country met the criteria which included completing activities in five different challenge areas that show our efforts at federal, state and local levels to inform and communicate with our elected officials and community members about hunger issues.

Below are just a few examples of our advocacy activities in 2017 –

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

  • Hosted two Second Harvest Food Bank Legislative Breakfasts and extended invitations to Representatives Lofgren, Speier, Panetta, Eshoo and Khanna. All five representatives had staff attend.

  • Made Hill visits with Representatives Lofgren, Speier, Panetta, Eshoo and Khanna (or their staff) as part of the National Anti-Hunger Conference in Washington D.C.

Challenge #2: Engage your local media (print, radio or television) on policy issues.

  • gmh Today article about Representative Jimmy Panetta for a tour about the USDA FINI Double-up Buck pilot. Spoke with him about the importance of a strong Farm Bill and he expressed interest in hosting a Farm Bill Hearing in his district.
  • Mercury News article about Federal Children’s Nutrition Programs focused on summer.

Challenge #3: Ask grassroots supporters (such as advocates, volunteers, agencies, etc.) to act on a policy issue.

  • Worked with a wide range of community groups and individuals during Hunger Action Month (September) to participate in the CalFresh Postcard Campaign detailing SNAP’s 40th anniversary and why SNAP matters. Completed postcards that were delivered to Congressional offices in Washington D.C.
  • Arranged for a former CalFresh (SNAP) program participant to testify at the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session in Salinas, CA.

Challenge #4: Ask “grasstops” allies (i.e., individual influential community leaders such as board members, business owners, corporate partners, state and local elected officials, etc.) to act on policy issues.

  • Worked with Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, and two lobbyists from Facebook and California Association of Food Banks to convince Governor Brown and state elected representatives to commit on-going emergency funds for CalFood (funds that food banks can use to purchase California grown/produced food).

  • In partnership with the Human Services Agency of San Mateo County, worked with the Hunger-Free workgroup to support a number of state and federal opportunities identified in Second Harvest Food Bank’s 2017 public policy issues agenda.

Challenge #5: Educate and/or mobilize local organizations (such as agriculture, education, health, business institutions, etc.) specifically about policy issues.

  • Hosted Hunger Action Summit, in partnership with Santa Clara University School of Business and Food and Agri-business Institute, with a section of the program focused on local, state and federal policy issues.

  • Hosted two Emerson Hunger Fellows who produced two reports, one on summer meals, the other on school breakfast. Both reports include policy recommendations and have been widely used in outreach to policymakers.