Anti-Hunger Advocates Gather in Washington

Joel Campos, Senior Manager of Outreach and Education at Second Harvest attended the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference held February 26-28th in Washington D.C.

He was one of more than 800 anti-hunger and anti-poverty advocates, federal, state and local government officials, child advocates, representatives of food banks and food rescue organizations, and nutrition and anti-obesity groups that participated in three days of training, networking and Capitol Hill advocacy.

L-R, Vicki Escarra, Feeding American National CEO, Joel Campos, Congressman Sam Farr, Sue Sigler, CA Association of Food Banks Executive Director

This annual conference is co-sponsored by Feeding America and FRAC (Food Research and Action Center). It provides an opportunity for participants from around the country to share information and learn how to strengthen the quality and reach of federal nutrition programs, learn best outreach and program practices from other states and localities, fill in the gaps in food service for millions of low-income children, and identify creative ideas for new and innovative approaches to ending hunger.

Members of Congress, Hill staff and key Administration officials attend the conference, provide comments as part of plenary sessions and panels, and join participants at receptions and special events.

Priorities for advocates this year include ensuring there will be no further reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

“The proposed cuts to these programs and others like them will reduce benefits for families at a time when the working poor are struggling to put food on the table,” says Campos. “We need to let our legislators know that these programs are critical to helping people stay healthy during these difficult economic times.”

What is SNAP and why is it important?
Formerly known as Food Stamps, SNAP helps put food on the table for more than 46 million people each month. Benefits are responsive, targeted, and temporary. The average household has an income of only 57% of the federal poverty guideline and 84% of all benefits go to households with a child, senior or disabled person. SNAP has proven to be one of the most responsive and efficient safety net programs with an accuracy rate of over 96%. With hunger, unemployment, and economic hardship affecting so many Americans, SNAP is more important than ever.

What is TEFAP and why is it important?
TFAP provides food at no cost to low-income Americans in need of short-term hunger relief through organizations like food banks and pantries. Nutritious TEFAP foods are an essential resource for local emergency food providers (such as Second Harvest), which combine government commodities with privately donated foods to maximize TEFAP benefits far beyond the budgeted amount for the program.

In addition to SNAP and TFAP, there are several other nutrition assistance programs focused on women, infants and children and the elderly that need support.

To learn more:
Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and under-nutrition in the U.S.

Feeding America
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County is one of over 200 food banks in the U.S. working in partnership with Feeding America to distribute food in their communities.

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