Advocate for policies to end hunger
Lend your voice to the cause. While we work to feed those in need today, we also believe that systemic changes must be made if there is going to be an end to hunger in our county, our country, or in the world. We encourage everyone who cares about the issues of hunger and food justice to follow legislative actions and advocate for policies that will help ensure access to enough healthy, fresh food for all members of our community.
Though Gene Nichol (a UNC law professor and director of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity) credited the “saintly” individuals and nonprofit organizations working on behalf of the poor in their communities, like the Interfaith Food Shuttle and Durham County Kids Project in Durham, he urged the young people in the audience to take a more political approach to the issue. Along with being informed voters, Nichol said the best way to reach North Carolina politicians is participating in Moral Monday demonstrations around the state. “Charity cannot make up for a lack of justice,” Nichol said. “It’s your generation’s challenge now, and you have got to do better than mine has done. These are not just percentages. This is a fight for the very decency of the American people, a fight for our very soul.” Read More
What do we advocate for?
- Living wages. Hunger ultimately is a poverty issue, and we believe part of ending hunger is ensuring that everyone has sufficient income to purchase enough good food for a healthy and active life. Working a low-wage job full-time often isn’t enough to make ends meet or help families climb out of poverty. Learn more here.
- Support for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC, and other federal nutrition programs.
- Support for regional farm systems to increase food security.
Take Action Now
IFFS Co-Founder and Emeritus CEO is or resident advocate for food systems change! Contact Jill to request her as a speaker or to learn more about how you can get involved: Jill@FoodShuttle.org or 919 250-3875
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle actively supports the advocacy efforts of Feeding America, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), and the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI).
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
On September 30, Congress voted on a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded through December 11, 2015. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 78-20, and the House passed the bill by a vote of 271-151. With a shutdown averted, attention now turns to Congress to negotiate a broader budget deal in December.
Will there be any impact on federal nutrition programs?
All federal nutrition programs will continue to operate as usual at least through December 11, 2015. There should be no interruption in SNAP benefits and all commodity, child nutrition, and seniors programs will continue operating under current law.
Additionally, the CR included a provision that should allow SNAP benefits to be funded through the entire month of January. This should hopefully remove the prospect of delayed benefits should a timely agreement to fund the government beyond December 11th not be reached and provide a cushion to ensure SNAP benefits can continue to be paid if a shutdown occurs at that point.
What about Child Nutrition Reauthorization which was set to expire on Sept. 30?
Unfortunately, Congress was not able to reauthorize the Child Nutrition bill before the deadline of September 30. While the programs will continue to operate under current law, it is critical that Congress completes the reauthorization bill as soon as possible. Remember, the reauthorization process is our chance to make much needed investments toward closing the summer meal gap. We know the Senate is very close to introducing a reauthorization bill. Ranking Member Sen. Debbie Stabenow said today that the Agriculture Committee has made “positive steps.” That’s a good sign. But we can’t let CNR get pushed aside by larger political dynamics likely to emerge in December and election year politics of 2016. Now is the time to act!
Healthy Corner Store legislation
The bill would appropriate $1 million to the Department of Commerce for administrating small grants to local small retail stores as recommended by local county public health officials to encourage these stores to offer nutrient-dense foods. The funds would support the acquisition of equipment (such as scales, refrigeration or freezer units, etc), training and salaries for new staff to handle produce, and nutrition education. Grantee stores would be required to accept SNAP and WIC benefit payments.
This bill has several bi-partisan sponsors including Co-Chairs from the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (Sen. Louis Pate and Rep. Donnie Lambeth). H. 250 and S. 296 were the product of last year’s Food Deserts/Healthy Food Access Study Commission. Copies can found online at the General Assembly website http://www.ncleg.net.
- NC Health News: Lawmakers Want to Make Healthy Eating Easier at Corner Stores
- WUNC: Lawmakers Propose Fresh Food Oases For North Carolina Food Deserts
There are also some grassroots projects developing to combat the food desert in Southeast Raleigh. Check out “Fertile Ground Food Cooperative” here.
North Carolina Election Law Changes
In order to make your voice heard, it’s important to make sure you can VOTE! H.B. 589, the Voter Information Verification Act made several changes to election laws. What you need to know:
- Voters MUST register (or update your registration if you move to a different county) at least 25 days prior to election day. This means no more same-day registration.
- Early voting now lasts only 10 days instead of 17 days.
- Voter IDs will be required – but not until 2016, and you can get a free voter ID from the DMV with proof of identity and residency.
- Know your precinct! If you show up at the wrong polling place you will NOT be able to vote with a provisional ballot.
Find more details and information about voting here: http://ncvoterguide.org/
Tell Congress and the President to Work Together to Protect Anti-Hunger Programs!
Update: February 5th, 2014: A new 5-year Farm Bill has passed both Houses of Congress, and President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon. Read Feeding America’s Statement on the latest Farm Bill Agreement.
“Feeding America strongly opposes the $8.6 billion cut to SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) included in the legislation. The bill will result in about 850,000 low-income households losing an average of $90 in monthly benefits. This reduction in benefits follows an approximately $11 billion cut to SNAP benefits that took place on November 1 of last year.
“These cuts will be concentrated in 15 states and the District of Columbia and will equate to about 34 lost meals per month for each affected household – a total of 3.2 billion lost meals over 10 years, according to estimates by Feeding America.
“The farm bill cuts to SNAP will no doubt result in increased demand at food banks and pantries in the impacted states, particularly coming on top of the November cuts that affected all SNAP participants.
“We believe that Congress should be strengthening and protecting SNAP and other anti-hunger programs, not cutting benefits, especially now, when need is so high.”
What’s Happening to SNAP?
For more clarity on the bill’s anticipated impact on SNAP, visit the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one of the nation’s premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
So what now?
- Tell your Members of Congress to visit Inter-Faith Food Shuttle or their local food bank to learn what hunger looks like in their community.
- Thank your Members of Congress who voted against SNAP cuts
What else is in the farm bill for Sustainable Farms and Food Systems?
- Learn all about it here from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- Read our partner CFSA’s statement on the farm bill here.
Developing a common language
The best place to start is to understand the language of “food security”. Below are common definitions that we believe capture the movement to address the root causes of hunger and end hunger in the long term.