Ending hunger is no small challenge. Food banks play a critical role, but we can’t do it alone. Fighting hunger is not only about providing emergency food to people in need – it also means taking action to address the root causes of hunger and poverty.
CAFB’s 2016 State Policy Agenda focuses on measures that help to end the hunger gap in California:
- Passing AB 1577 (Eggman) the Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit bill.
The legislation would
- Expand the list of fresh and processed agricultural items as eligible for the credit beyond produce to complete sources of nutrition such as eggs, meats, dairy, rice, beans and nuts,
- Simplify the credit and making is easier for donors to take it by moving to 15% of wholesale value to deepen the credit and make it easier for donor to take it,
- Extend the sunset to 2022.
The legislation would:
- Establish the Imagine No Hunger license plate program within CDFA,
- Allow Californians the option to purchase a specialty license plate from DMV that would benefit California’s food banks.
- Increasing funding for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP), enabling food banks to purchase and distribute more food to low Income Californians.
- Food Waste Prevention Funding request for $100M in Cap & Trade to encourage Greenhouse Gas Reduction would support two programs that would directly benefit food banks:
- Food Waste Prevention Grants that would support one-time investments in transportation, cold storage, etc. to increase diversion of food from waste streams.
- Support for Organics Grants to fund biodigesters or other food recovery efforts in partnership with anaerobic digestion facilities.
- Modernizing and simplifying the CalFresh (food stamp) program, which has one of the lowest participation rates in the country
- Leveraging California’s budget surplus to rebuild and reinvest in vital safety net programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI/SSP)
Advocating for Policies that Increase Access to Healthy Food
The California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and our food bank network are strongly committed to advocating for anti-hunger programs and policies at the federal, state and local levels.
CAFB’s advocacy program includes: working with decision-makers at state and federal levels; providing expert testimony on hunger-related issues and legislation; supporting and sponsoring legislation related to hunger, nutrition and poverty; hosting an annual Legislative Day for food banks to educate state legislators about hunger in their districts; participating in anti-hunger coalitions; providing action alerts on timely issues; and partnering with leading anti-hunger organizations.
Protecting & Strengthening Government Nutrition Programs
Our country’s first line of defense against hunger is our government nutrition programs. Tragically, these programs have seen dramatic cuts in recent years, at a time when poverty and hunger rates are increasing. (California has one of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the nation, at 25.1%. Learn more about hunger in California.)
Food bank advocacy efforts are essential for protecting and strengthening the safety net programs that can prevent hunger, including:
- School lunch and breakfast programs for students from low-income families
- Summer feeding programs that benefit students who might otherwise go hungry when school is out of session
- SNAP/CalFresh benefits (formerly known as food stamps)
California has one of the worst food stamp participation rates in the nation: nearly half of eligible households are not signed up for the benefits they qualify for. CAFB and our partners in the Alliance to Transform CalFresh are working to improve the CalFresh system, integrate it with the Affordable Care Act, and dramatically increase participation. Learn more.
Strengthening Food Bank Advocacy Programs
California’s food banks were among the first in the nation to include policy and advocacy work as a core part of their anti-hunger efforts. CAFB assists our members by providing venues to communicate with policy makers and offering leadership in strategy and message development. We provide members with capacity building and technical assistance in developing their advocacy programs, along with sample advocacy materials and a comprehensive guide, “Food Bank Guide to Policy Advocacy: Best Practices and Action Ideas for Influencing Public Policy to End Hunger.”
If your member food bank is interested in developing or expanding an advocacy program, please contact Andrew Cheyne, Policy Director, at email@example.com or 510-350-9915.