Here at the Food Bank, we know that hunger affects everyone – men, women, children, seniors, families and individuals. We also know that hunger is a non-partisan issue that affects people in every county and congressional district in the United States.(1)
As the leader of hunger relief in our 13-county service area, the Food Bank is a critical partner in providing nutritious meals to these neighbors in need.
But we can’t do this work alone. Our efforts are only possible because of the support we receive from our community, and our partnerships with local, state, and national leaders, as well as with all levels of government. It is only by working together that we can begin to solve hunger.
At the federal level, the Food Bank administers a number of federally-funded child nutrition programs, such as After School Meals (Child and Adult Care Food Program, or CACFP) and Summer Meals (Summer Food Service Program, or SFSP). Together, these programs amount to nearly one million nutritious meals for children in Northern Illinois. We also distribute product to many of our member agencies through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Beyond our participation in these federal programs, the Food Bank works to build strong relationships with our mayors, county boards, and state and federal elected officials. By doing so, we are able to give a voice not only to our organization, but to our member agencies and ultimately to the neighbors we all serve. What we say and do can be the difference between a meal on the table or not for many families in Northern Illinois.
To build these relationships, we work alongside Feeding America, Feeding Illinois, and other like-minded partners to engage with and educate our audience through strategic interactions, including in-person meetings, trainings, and using social and traditional media to protect and strengthen government policies that impact hunger.
Our Food Bank Advocacy Team just returned from Washington, D.C., where we attended the 2020 Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, sponsored by Feeding America and the Food Research and Action Center. At the conference, we learned how hundreds of anti-hunger organizations across the nation are working to solve hunger, and heard important updates on key programs and policies that impact our neighbors.
We also visited the Capitol to meet with our Congressional representatives. During these meetings, we discussed the impact of government programs and policies on our neighbors, as well as the importance of a strong public-private partnership in order to solve hunger in the United States.
While our trip to D.C. came to an end, our advocacy work isn’t done! The Advocacy Team will travel to Springfield in early May to meet with state legislators and continue building these essential partnerships with our leaders in order to ensure no one goes hungry in Northern Illinois.
Stay tuned for more advocacy updates in the future! If you can’t wait for the next blog post, sign up for our Advocacy Alerts email list to:
Together, we can advocate for a hunger-free future. Together, we are solving hunger!