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By Sarah Palmer
CAFB Policy Associate

As the Policy Associate for the California Association of Food Banks, I see how state and federal laws impact the lives of everyday people. I understand how important it is for front-line advocates and program recipients to talk directly to policymakers about programs and coalitions—like the Alliance to Transform CalFresh—that are making a difference. That’s why I was excited when advocates from California and other western states gathered blocks from our CAFB office on June 15 to be part of a hearing before the newly formed National Commission on Hunger.

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On May 4 & 5, over 250 food bankers, policymakers, and anti-hunger allies came together for two days of workshops, round table discussions, and conversation at CAFB’s anti-hunger conference, "Now is the Time: New Visions Toward Ending Hunger." With 35 workshops covering six tracks, the conference provided targeted skill-building opportunities, the chance to learn best practices while networking with peers, and the tools to put these practices to use. In her rousing keynote address on hunger as a civil right, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger President & CEO Abby J. Leibman outlined ways in which previous civil rights movements have been successful. She closed with this powerful call to action: “We have all learned these lessons. Now let’s put them into action.” For the next two days, attendees did just that.

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Each May hundreds of anti-hunger advocates from across the state meet in Sacramento to educate their legislators about hunger and encourage their support for anti-hunger legislation. This year advocates from your community will be at the capitol on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. With more than 4 million California adults struggling with food insecurity it’s critical that these issues are addressed in 2015.

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On February 23, the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) hosted the first ever national Farm to Family Conference in Fresno, California. Food bankers travelled from Ohio, Missouri, Texas, Maine, Indiana and a dozen other states from across the country to learn about Farm to Family’s innovative program model.

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