By Henry Easton Koehler and Nick Musni, Community Organizers
As a recently expanded, seven-person cohort, our Policy & Partnerships team works to advance policies that will move us closer to eradicating hunger. Our roles as the Food Bank’s Community Organizers involve building, strengthening, and mobilizing community members to uproot hunger through collective action.
At the core of our work is an annual Policy Agenda that guides our legislative priorities and grassroots advocacy throughout the year.
Our team’s goal for 2022 is to have the boldest and most inclusive policy agenda in more than 20 years of anti-hunger advocacy.
We started by centering the voices of leaders in the community — uplifting the perspectives of people working on the front line against hunger. With the guidance of our Research Department, we met with partner organizations in the four zip codes with the highest rates of food insecurity and asked: “What are the most pressing needs in your community, and what changes might have the most impact on addressing those needs?”
The answers were consistent: Housing, healthcare, and immigration rose to the top, followed by living-wage employment, community safety, and childcare. Also consistent? Hunger is the byproduct of these issues — creating and lengthening food distribution lines … which we’re working to shorten and eliminate.
Hunger doesn’t operate in a vacuum so we can’t address it in isolation.
The roots of hunger run deep and entangle a range of inseparable issues which are further entrenched by systems of white supremacy and widening class divisions. If we work together to eliminate barriers to housing, healthcare, and other basic needs, people won’t have to choose between a visit to the doctor, rent, or groceries. This is the foundation to our 2022 Policy Agenda.
Uprooting hunger won’t be easy. But we know this: we are not alone in this fight. Different struggles intersect. But our work is so deeply connected — across sectors, identities, and lived experience — and that gives us hope that, together, we can make a difference. Join us and stay up-to-date with our policy work at accfb.org/advocacy.