In late February, our CEO/President, Dave Krepcho; VP of Programs, Karen Broussard; and, myself attended the annual Anti-Hunger Policy Conference in Washington DC. Every year we gather with our sister food banks from across the Feeding America network — everywhere from Alaska, to Maine, Texas and everywhere in between.
We gather to learn what’s worked for food banks in the past, what new and innovative ideas they’ve tried and how we can work together to build a stronger advocacy network for those in need.
During the conference, Karen and I were both invited to sit on different panels to discuss Health & Hunger and Voting & Food Banks, respectively. Karen was able to discuss the latest and greatest with the intersection of health and hunger and some not so surprising results (hint: the type of food you put in your body does make a difference for your health!).
I presented our work around the 2018 midterm elections which we provided voter education on where, when and how people in Central Florida could vote. We also provided information about how to engage the candidates to see and underscore the importance of a strong public/private partnership in the fight against hunger. A lot of food banks across the network were encouraged by what we have done and many asked great questions on how they too could get a similar program started.
After the conference, Dave, Karen and I ventured to the Hill and advocated for increased funding for TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), raised awareness about our health and hunger work, and spoke about the federal restrictions surrounding the rural summer feeding program we piloted last year in South Lake County.
We spent all day on the Hill advocating for Hope to bring to our community. Thank you to Rep. Darren Soto for taking time out of his committee meeting to meet with us; to Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s office for always sitting down with us to discuss the latest and greatest; to Rep. Val Demings’ office who always makes great suggestions on how we can continue our work at a stronger capacity; to Rep. Daniel Webster’s office for hearing how we’re transforming South Lake County through our summer rural feeding program; to Rep. Michael Waltz’s office who had a great conversation with what we’re doing to tackle hunger in Volusia County; and Rep. Bill Posey for providing us time to meet with you right after your committee meeting ended.
Additionally, we were able to meet with Eleni from Senator Marco Rubio’s office and staff from Senator Rick Scott’s office to continue our conversation about hunger in Central Florida.