It is time to swap out those pink Barbie shirts for something orange because September is Hunger Action Month!
During Hunger Action Month each year, Foodlink joins other anti-hunger organizations in support of the nationwide campaign with a mission to inspire people to take action against hunger. Spearheaded by the Feeding America network of food banks, we wear orange to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity.
(Did You Know … orange was selected because the nation’s first food stamps were printed on orange paper. Bonus Did You Know … those very same food stamps were distributed for the first time in 1939 in Rochester, NY?)
Food insecurity today impacts nearly 35 million people in the United States. Within Foodlink’s 10-county service area, 118,240 people often do not know when or from where they are getting their next meal.
Below are some great advocacy ideas to inspire you to take action to eliminate hunger.
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive package of legislation that is renewed once every five years. This year, the deadline for the Farm Bill to be renewed is Sept. 30. It is important to everyone because it determines the cost and availability of the foods we eat and how crops are grown. The Farm Bill also includes nutrition programs intended to ensure that the most vulnerable among us have access to healthy, affordable food. Foodlink has been advocating for Farm Bill anti-hunger programs such as strengthening Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, by allowing people to purchase hot prepared foods, removing the barriers to SNAP access for college students, and ensuring that Puerto Rico and all US territories also have equitable access to SNAP benefits. Foodlink’s other Farm Bill priorities include reauthorizing and increasing The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which serves as the lifeline for food banks across the country. Another Foodlink federal priority is to strengthen funding for GusNIP, a produce incentive nutrition program that supports farmers and provides SNAP participants access to fresh produce. GusNIP (The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program) also funds Curbside Market’s Double Up Food Program that matches dollar for dollar fruit and vegetable purchases using SNAP, which helps stretch food budgets and participants receive twice the amount of fresh produce.
To learn more about the Farm Bill, check out this video.
How you can help: You can support Foodlink’s federal priorities by signing this petition to tell Congress to strengthen nutrition programs through the 2023 Farm Bill.
You can also call you local Congress representative and use the below script. Farm Bill Script
You: Hello, my name is [your full name] and I would like to make a comment to [elected official’s name] about the upcoming Farm Bill.
Staff member: Please go ahead.
You: I am calling to urge [elected official’s name] and other members of Congress to work together on a strong bill that will increase funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program. This program helps farmers and food banks provide U.S. grown food to our neighbors in need. I also ask that Congress protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program because it is vital anti-hunger program, providing food to 40 million people. I care about this because [your reason].
Staff member: Thank you for your comment. I will give your message to [elected official’s name].
You: Thank you for your time, good-bye
Food banks, pantries, emergency shelters across the state are struggling to keep up with the increasing need for hunger relief. We depend on programs like the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) and Nourish NY to provide funding to keep our food bank operational and stocked with healthy food for the community.
How you can help: Contact your local state official to voice your support of Foodlink’s state priorities of funding Nourish NY at $75M and HPNAP at $64M during the next budget cycle!
In addition to hunger-relief funding, Foodlink joined a coalition of anti-hunger organizations throughout the state to lobby for universal healthy school meals for all New York public and charter schools. We were able to advocate for a portion of the funding needed in this past New York State budget, but for this upcoming budget we are advocating for all students to have access to healthy school meals at no cost.
How you can help: Join the Healthy School Meals For All NY Coalition and share it with teachers, school administrators, school cafeteria staff, and your local parent teacher association.
Foodlink’s CEO Julia Tedesco joined the City of Rochester, Common Ground Health, and 10 city residents to form the Rochester Food Policy Council to create a healthier equitable food system. The council assisted the City of Rochester by providing recommendations for their healthy food retail loan and grant program.
How can you help: Spread the word that the city is looking for established food retail organizations to submit a proposal idea for a new innovative food retail service that can help low-income families and communities have equitable access to healthy food. Share this link: City of Rochester | RFP – Innovative Healthy Food Models
Other Advocacy Opportunities
Volunteering: We are always accepting volunteers to help sort food in our distribution center, assist our Curbside Market customers, or help maintain our community farm on Lexington Avenue. “Volunteers are critical to our mission of ending hunger and building healthier communities!” Sign up today by visiting our website.
Donate: Did you know that Foodlink can provide 3 meals to people in need for every $1 donated. You can make a huge difference just by making a secure, online donation on our website.
Lived Experiences: Do you have lived experience with SNAP or have you received services from Foodlink or one of our partner agency food pantries. We would love to hear your story to share with elected officials. We can share charts and data, but your elected officials need to hear from the lives of people in their district. Your voice and your story matter. Call or email Dominique Richardson (585-471-7340 or firstname.lastname@example.org), Foodlink’s Advocacy and Government Relations Specialist, to share your lived experience.