By Ezer Pamintuan, Policy Advocate
We’re fewer than 100 days from the midterm election on November 8. As with every election, hunger is on the ballot. As we head into election season, we thought it would be a good time to celebrate some recent advocacy wins and inspire you — our community — to join us in our ongoing efforts!
As Food Bankers, we strive every day to alleviate hunger in the community and pull up its underlying causes at the root. Changing entire systems takes years of dedicated effort, and often comes with just as many setbacks as victories. This can tempt us to describe our advocacy work in purely aspirational tones, something we only hope to move closer to, but never achieve.
But we have already proven this to be untrue. Eradicating hunger is within our reach.
Last year, California’s implementation of universally-free school meals proved that the eradication of hunger within whole systems is possible, when we have the will and community power to make it happen.
This year, we set our sights on tackling even more systemic issues, including housing, immigration inclusion in the safety net, tax policy, and democracy and voting rights. All of these directly relate to food-insecurity and, once again, our collective advocacy work has brought us closer to a hunger-free community! In June, Governor Newsom signed a State Budget that incorporated several victories, including:
- Immigrant Inclusion in the Safety Net – Full inclusion of all income-eligible Californians into Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status or age. By 2024, 700,000 more Californians will be eligible for affordable or no cost health care, meaning more people won’t have to choose between putting food on the table and a visit to the doctor.
- Expanded Access to Critical Nutrition Programs – Inclusion of undocumented immigrants ages 55 and older in the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Next year, ACCFB will build upon this victory to fight for full immigrant inclusion in this nutrition program regardless of age.
- Food Bank Funding – 120 million to fund California’s food banks (a 650% increase in ongoing funding), acknowledging the long term, critical role of Food Banks as we continue to respond to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis and prepare for future emergencies and disaster, like earthquakes and fires.
- Support for Older Adults & People Living with Disabilities – Increased Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments by $37/month starting January 1, 2023.
These victories did not occur in a vacuum. They were a direct result of your tireless letter-writing to Governor Newsom’s office, the stories you shared with our elected officials, and our recent (virtual) advocacy meetings with Senator Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, and staff members for Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.
As we build upon 2022’s victories and begin to set out our goals for 2023, we hope that you take this journey along with us. Sign up for Advocacy Action Alerts and follow us on social media to learn about quick and easy ways to contact your legislators, urging them to pass anti-hunger legislation.
Success in advocacy requires you.