Since the 2016 presidential election, we’ve heard from many in our community who want to join in our advocacy efforts against hunger and inequity. We’ve also heard the question, so can advocacy really make a difference?

The short answer: Yes.

The programs and policies that support low-income families and reduce food insecurity are only as strong that voices that demand they are protected or improved. For years, our grassroots advocacy team and anti-hunger advocates have worked side-by-side with local, state, and federal lawmakers to strengthen our social safety net. We show up to budget hearings, make calls, take meetings with legislators, tell our stories, and so much more.

Advocacy isn’t easy or fast, but with hard work, many seemingly-wonky policy changes make real, tangible differences in our clients’ lives, and in the health and prosperity of our entire community.

Below are just a few of the 2016 legislative wins we advocated for alongside powerful, statewide coalitions.

A look back at our 2016 legislative wins

· Repeal of the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule. This unjust law denied aid to 130,000 children for 20 years. Without tireless advocacy from numerous statewide coalitions, and leadership from State Assembly members, it would probably still be in place.

· Expanded funding for Breakfast after the Bell, a program which provides breakfast for low-income students so they have the energy and nutrition to succeed during the school day.

· Funding to double customers’ CalFresh benefits at farmers’ markets

· A plan to increase the state minimum wage

· Funding for CalFood, a program that supports Food Banks

· Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit, a credit that will help farmers move excess crops to Food Banks and prevent healthy produce from going to waste.

· A modest increase to the SSI Cost of Living Adjustment, the first COLA since 2009. SSI is a program for low-income seniors or people with disabilities who aren’t able to work, and who aren’t eligible for social security.

Looking Ahead to 2017

In the coming weeks, we will be releasing our legislative agenda for 2017. In this uncertain new political climate, we need your help more than ever. Your commitment—including your voice and enthusiasm—energizes our staff, board, agency partners and all who support us as we pursue a hunger-free community. Advocacy can and does make a difference, but only if we all stand together.
In order to turn some of these priorities into victories for next year, we need your support! Sign up for our advocacy alerts here.