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Wins for Hunger in this Year’s State Legislative Session

The aim of Food Lifeline’s advocacy work this past session was to win new tools and resources for the fight against hunger. We’re excited to share some of the great advances that were made that will benefit kids, teens, adults, and seniors who are experiencing hunger and poverty in our state.

Food Lifeline’s Public Policy Platform focuses on hunger prevention, food systems, poverty, hunger and health, and equity/social justice and each year guides the creation of our legislative agenda. You can read our 2019 State Legislative Agenda here.

Here’s a brief recap of important legislative victories this session:

  • Hunger and Health: We helped secure $2.5 million to continue the successful fruits and vegetables incentive programs at the Department of Health. These programs extend SNAP benefits at farmers markets, Safeway stores, and health settings across the state.
  • Poverty, Equity, and Social justice: We helped secure increased investments in the State Housing Trust Fund, the Housing and Essential Needs Program, and necessary reforms for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. We also helped with the creation of a State Equity Office to foster alignment of equity initiatives across state government. And we helped pass Keep Washington Working, a bill that looks at immigrant protections and immigrants’ role in Washington’s workforce.
  • Student Hunger: Despite our advocacy efforts aimed at eliminating copays for reduced price school meals, we did succeed in helping schools administer the Community Eligibility Provision, which can have the same effect. We also secured emergency needs grants for two-year and technical colleges and a request for a waiver allowing SNAP benefits to be used on campus.
  • Food Systems: In a major advance that can modernize hunger relief efforts, incentivize food donation, and help mitigate climate change, we helped pass legislation to put the state on a path to reducing wasted food by 50 percent by the year 2030. Currently, 25 to 40 percent of food produced is not eaten, ending up in landfills instead. We also helped continue the Washington State Food Policy Forum, a roundtable that convenes key food system stakeholders—including hunger relief partners—to consider system-wide issues and impacts.

For more info on these issues and other wins not highlighted here, see our 2019 Legislative Session Recap.