In addition to food bank funding and Breakfast After the Bell, there are a handful of other issues we’re tracking. There are two legislative proposals and two funding proposals:
The “Apple a Day” program – This bill focuses on getting healthier food to students by offering grants for new or improved school kitchen equipment. The grants will be targeted to schools in low-income areas and schools already involved in farm to school efforts.
Washington Food Policy Forum – This bill establishes a state-wide forum designed to increase the production, sales and consumption of Washington-grown food. One of the tasks of the Forum is to provide recommendations to “reduce food insecurity and hunger in the state and ensure that the health and societal benefits of a healthy Washington food system that provides access to nutritionally dense foods are shared with families at all income levels, and particularly with vulnerable children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and communities of color.”
Fully restore funding to State Food Assistance – This program works to ensure legal immigrants at risk of hunger have access to food stamp benefits. For 11,000 legally residing immigrant families, their State Food Assistance benefits equal only 75% of the food stamp benefits others receive. Fully funding these benefits will ensure kids in these families get a chance to grow up healthy.
Maintain funds to get fresh, local produce to hungry people – The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides vouchers for pregnant women, moms and young children to purchase fresh, locally grown produce at farmers markets and farm stands. Even with funds added in 2014, the program can only support 25% of eligible families. Continuing the funds added last year will help more of our state’s most vulnerable get the fresh, nutritious food they need for a healthy life while also supporting our local farmers and economy.
Right now, there are four actions you can take to fight hunger in our state:
- Add your name or your organization to the community support letter for Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP).
- Send a message to your legislators to tell them you support Breakfast After the Bell.
- Sign the Washington United for Fair Revenue petition to let your legislators know you support changes to our state’s revenue system that will make it more sustainable and more equitable.
- Come to Hunger Action Day! On March 9, anti-hunger advocates will take Olympia by storm to talk about the important issues facing our communities. Registration is now open.