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Hunger Solutions New York Attends the National Anti-Hunger Conference

By May 19, 2023June 8th, 2023No Comments

From May 7 – 9, many of Hunger Solutions New York’s staff joined advocates from across the United States in Washington D.C. for the National Anti-Hunger Conference, hosted by FRAC and Feeding America. From California to New York, leaders from food banks, government bodies, nonprofits and more came together to discuss how to improve food access to the countless Americans who need it.

Throughout the conference, we attended sessions focused on anti-hunger policy and federal nutrition assistance programs. We connected with individuals with lived experiences and heard their stories as well, which influenced us greatly.

Advocating on Lobby Day

On Lobby Day, our public affairs team traveled to Capitol Hill with a cohort of advocates from the conference to meet with New York’s Congressional Delegation and urge them to support our anti-hunger priorities. Cody Bloomfield, the Afterschool and Summer Meals Specialist, explains the event well:

“Our lobby day on Capitol Hill was very timely. As the expansion of harsh time limits for public assistance programs hang in the balance of the debt ceiling negotiations, SNAP is most certainly in need of defending. Joining together with advocates from across New York State, we implored our elected officials to protect and strengthen SNAP. Together we made twenty-one visits, which included conversations with the offices of House Minority Leader Jeffries, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and members who sit on the Agriculture Committee. There is definitely power in numbers, as well as in the sharing of lived expertise, which our New York cohort modeled beautifully. I am hopeful that the teamwork we displayed and momentum we’ve garnered will carry over into advocacy for the 2023 Farm Bill negotiations.”

Hunger Solutions New York employees prepare for Lobby Day  Krista, Director of Public Affairs, and the team prepare for Lobby Day

Francesca DiGiorgio, the School Meals Program Specialist, reflected on her first Lobby Day and said:

“The opportunity to join my colleagues as part of the New York anti-hunger policy delegation on Capitol Hill was a highlight in my professional career. As a first time attendee at lobby day, I was grateful for the mentorship of seasoned team members and for the comradery of my fellow newbies. I returned to New York feeling energized by our advocacy to safeguard federal nutrition programs and look forward to pushing for investments that make them more equitable for all.”

Overall, the experience was a good one. Krista Hesdorfer, the Director of Public Affairs, remarked, “We are continuously grateful for the partnership of advocates across the state, especially as we urge our delegation to protect and strengthen SNAP at this critical juncture. We carried a unified message to our representatives, encouraging them to stand firm against any cuts or harmful changes to SNAP and other federal nutrition programs to ensure New Yorkers have access to the food they need.”

Hunger Solutions New York employees standing in front of the Capitol Building

Returning to New York

When we all finally returned to New York, we were more than ready to harness the energy from the conference. Andres Vives, the Executive Director of Hunger Solutions New York, remarked,

“It was refreshing to be among so many anti-hunger stakeholders from across the country at the Anti-Hunger Conference in Washington D.C. We all stand together on similar issues, such as protecting and strengthening SNAP and working with President Biden to reach his goal of ending hunger by 2030, as mentioned in the September 2022 White House Conference. In particular, my team and I are still very motivated to make Healthy School Meals for All in New York a reality, and with the lessons we learned and connections we made at the conference, I am confident that we can make it happen.”

We are immensely grateful for the opportunity to attend the FRAC Anti-Hunger Conference, and we can’t wait to go again next year!