ADVOCATE TO END HUNGER
In addition to providing more than 35 million pounds of food to nearly 300 food banks, meal programs and shelters each year, Food Lifeline advocates to support public nutrition and food programs, to reduce poverty and to end hunger.
To reach these goals, we engage passionate volunteers, concerned communities, coalition partners and local, state and federally-elected lawmakers to give a voice to those in need.
Legislative Priorities & Policy Issues
Accessing Food and Nutrition Programs and Resources
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Anyone in our community can find themselves in need. Educating our community and lawmakers about the face of hunger and those in need, helps to remove the stigma for those who might be too embarrassed or ashamed to reach out for help. By advoacting for anti-hunger and nutrition programs you are not only protecting vital programs, but also giving a strong voice to those struggling to provide for themselves or their family.
- Attend Hunger Action Day: Every February, anti-hunger advocates travel to Olympia for this annual lobby day which gives you all you need to be an anti-hunger advocate with the representatives in the Washington State Capitol.
Receive Action Alerts: Sign up to receive Advocacy Alerts, Food Lifeline’s email informing you about when, where and how you can take action. Email us to find out more.
Share your story! "My single mom provided a loving home. She worked hard and did her best to ensure we had what we needed. That’s why when her hard work wasn’t enough to always put food on the table, she humbly supplemented with food stamps, food banks, and the free lunch program at my school." Read more and learn how you can share your story.
- Contact your lawmakers and voice your opinion. Find your legislator.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Find out up-to-the minute information on Food Lifeline’s work in the community, check out pictures from our advocacy efforts, and spread the word to your friends.
LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES & POLICY ISSUES:
State Legislative Issues and Agenda
Hunger is real and it can happen to anyone in Washington State. Children, seniors and the working poor can, and do, struggle with hunger. Food Lifeline and other hunger relief organizations, along with state public nutrition programs, provide vital meals to those in need.
Help end hunger in your district by supporting critical anti-hunger and nutrition programs this session:
- Increase Funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), an essential program that helps to keep the lights on and the shelves stocked at food banks.
- Restore Farm to School and Small Farm Direct Marketing Programs, these programs help Washington's farm economy and improve access to healthy, locally-grown produce for children and schools. In 2011, funding to operate both programs was eliminated.
- Restore Funding for the State Food Assistance Program (SFA), the first line of defense for thousands of legal immigrants and their families who do not qualify for federal food stamp assistance.
Cuts to this program will make accessing food even more difficult for legal immigrants and their nearly 14,000 children, while increasing the lines at food banks who continue to struggle to keep up with demand.
- Increase Revenue Through a Balanced Budget Approach,
over the past four years, state programs and services have been cut by $12 billion. Further cuts to vital social services will result in the elimination of crucial programs. It is time to balance those cuts with additional reforms and new revenue.
- Download the full 2013 State Legislative Agenda PDF.
Federal Legislative Issues
As Congress attempts to resolve our nation’s long-term financial challenges, Food Lifeline is urging our Congressional lawmakers to protect public food and nutrition assistance programs that provide a vital safety net, particularly during these continuing difficult economic times.
Food Lifeline supports funding for the following policies and programs:
- Protecting the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which helps food banks provide nutritious food to low-income Americans in need of short-term hunger relief in partnership with local pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters by providing $260 million for TEFAP food commodities in FY 2012, and providing $100 million for TEFAP storage and distribution grants to meet the infrastructure and distribution capacity. Redirect USDA funding to increase the availability of food commodities to ensure adequate supplies of nutritious food.
- Oppose Cuts or Restrictions to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that caps funding, eliminates block grants or redefines work requirements to reduce benefits or restricts participation in a program that is the cornerstone of the nutrition safety net, providing over 46 million low-income participants with monthly benefits via a grocery debit card.
- Expand the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which leverages government buying power to provide nutritious food packages to nearly 604,000 low income people each month, 97% of which are very-low income seniors, by providing $176.8 million for current caseloads in existing states Food Lifeline also supports changing CSFP to a seniors-only program.
- Reject a Cap on the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction that would limit food banks ability to raise funds and protect the ability of nonprofits to raise vitally needed funds along with necessary comprehensive tax reforms.
- Adopting a Balanced Approach to Controlling Our Nation’s Financial Future that supports programs that are needed and effective, safeguards programs that protect low-income families, ensures adequate revenues, and eliminates unnecessary or inefficient spending.
Want to Learn More about Food Lifeline’s Farm Bill Priorities?
Read more about our funding priorities and support for important programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.
For more information about Food Lifeline research and other valuable hunger research studies, head over to our Hunger Research section.
ACCESSING FOOD AND NUTRITION PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES
The State of Washington has a centralized website and contact information for the multiple programs serving hungry people in Washington.
If you find yourself struggling to provide food for yourself or your family, there is hope. Please click on the following links to access programs that can provide food, resources, and information. If you cannot find the information you need, or you simply don't know where to start, please contact Food Lifeline's public policy department for assistance.
- Food Stamps: The Washington State Department of Health and Human Service’s Basic Food Program helps low-income individuals and families purchase food through the Basic Food program, which administers the federal SNAP (food stamp) program.
- School Nutrition Programs: The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) helps qualifying students in grades K-12 access free or reduced breakfast, lunch and snacks while at school.
- The Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC): The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) provides monthly checks of up to $100 to purchase healthy foods for qualifying pregnant women, new mothers, babies and children up to five years old.
- Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program for WIC and Seniors (FMNP): The FMNP provides vouchers to low-income women, children and seniors to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at local farm stores and farmer’s markets.
- State Food Assistance Program (SFA): SFA provides monthly food stamp benefits to legal immigrants and their families who do not qualify for the federal SNAP/food stamp program.
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): Provides monthly nutritious meal packages to low-income seniors and qualifying women, infants and children.
THE CHANGING FACE OF HUNGER: BE A STRONG VOICE
Anyone in our community can find themselves in need. Educating our community and lawmakers about the face of hunger and those in need helps to remove the stigma for those who might be too embarrassed or ashamed to reach out for help. By advocating for anti-hunger and nutrition programs, you are not only protecting vital programs, but also giving a strong voice to those struggling to provide for themselves or their family.
Gina Clark, Director of Public Policy
Phone: 206-545-6600 ext. 3611
Gina brings over 10 years’ experience in public policy, government affairs and advocacy as a policy advisor, consultant and attorney. Gina tackles local, state and federal anti-hunger, nutrition and food policy issues and works with coalition partners to ensure vital safety net programs and funding are preserved. Gina is also responsible for policy research and legislative agendas, testifying at public hearings, educating lawmakers and the community about legislative issues, and overseas advocacy outreach. Please feel free to contact Gina at 206-545-6600, ext. 3611, if you have any policy-related questions or concerns, or to learn more about how you can get involved to end hunger in our state.
Katharine Ryan, Public Policy Coordinator
Phone: 206-545-6600 ext. 3625
Katharine Ryan grew up in Oregon earning her Bachelors degree in Political Science at the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Public Health at Portland State University. After working in health policy and as legislative aide to two State Representatives in Oregon, Katharine moved to Seattle. At Food Lifeline, Katharine works on state policy as well as managing the research efforts of the Public Policy Department.
Advocacy Support From
Food Lifeline thanks MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger for supporting our advocacy program.