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Making Hunger a Top Legislative Priority

By March 31, 2020 No Comments

Special note: It’s important for you to know how fully we’ve devoted every available resource and matter of attention to responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Food Lifeline, our partners at Northwest Harvest, and hunger relief agencies across the state are pulling together to serve people as best we can.

This emergency illustrates the importance of the partnership between lawmakers, government officials and agencies, and the network of charitable hunger relief organizations in our state. Also, importantly, your advocacy and support for hunger issues. It’s what helps inform decision makers and the need has never been greater.

The following is a brief recap of our legislative wins in the 2020 state session. Please note that this body of work was culminated before the present COVID-19 pandemic emergency. We are mobilizing new efforts to secure support and necessary resources to respond to this immediate and evolving situation.

Food Lifeline’s 2020 State Supplemental Session Accomplishments

Each year, Food Lifeline sets out to work with legislative champions in Olympia and Washington DC on policies to solve hunger problems, protect successful safety net programs, and secure new investments for hunger relief efforts. We are happy to report progress in all these areas during the 2020 Washington State Supplemental Session.

Importantly, Food Lifeline recognizes our advocates and supporters, including partners that helped make this body of work possible: Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition, Northwest Harvest, Poverty Action Network, Racial Equity Team, Washington Anti-Poverty Advocates, Faith Action Network, United Way, Working Families Tax Credit Coalition, and the Food Fighters and the Opportunity for All Caucuses.

  • More high-need schools will offer school meals at no student cost. Rep Marcus Riccelli championed a bill (HB 2660) to require certain high-needs schools to take advantage of Community Eligibility, a provision that provides full federal reimbursement of meals
  • More funding ($1,300,000) is dedicated to sustaining the SNAP Fruit & Vegetable Incentives that help people extend their SNAP purchasing power
  • With help from Rep Beth Doglio and Sen Judy Warnick, we created a new $500,000 grant fund for food banks & pantries to update equipment or expand capacity
  • With help from Rep Mike Steele and Sen Kevin Van De Wege, we secured $100,000 in funding to expand partnerships between local growers & food pantries participating in the Farm to Food Pantry program
  • With help from Rep Mari Leavitt and Sen Liz Lovelett secured more funding ($110,000) and improvements for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
  • We helped pass a bill championed by Rep Mia Gregerson and Sen Judy Warnick for the state’s Food Policy Forum, elevating this platform for statewide food policy considerations (Food Lifeline is a member)
  • We helped pass a bill (HB 1783) championed by Rep Mia Gregerson creating the State Office of Equity, to extend equity initiatives across state government
  • We were part of the coalition winning investments in the State Housing Trust FundHousing and Essential Needs Program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), amounting to more than $160 million for safe, affordable housing and other basic needs

Food Lifeline extends its sincere appreciation for the many champions in the state legislature and their staff, partners in the hunger relief community, and our supporters for making this body of work possible. To further show our thanks, we will announce our 2020 Legislative Awards in the coming months!

Special thanks to our “Food Fighters” caucus in the Washington State House of Representatives: Rep Sharon Shewmake (lead), Rep Marcus Riccelli, Rep Mia Gregerson, Rep Monica Stonier, Rep My-Linh Thai, Rep Zack Hudgins, Rep Strom Peterson, and Rep Mari Leavitt

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