Distributing healthy food to guests and partner agencies is at the core of River Bend Food Bank’s mission, but ending hunger in Illinois and Iowa also means championing public policies which are in line with our vision. Donating your time and talent advocating on behalf of people experiencing hunger is a critical way you can help us build thriving communities.
Two examples of recent advocacy efforts include:
- Urging partner agencies to submit comments to the USDA on their experiences with the Farmers to Families Food Box Program to determine if and how this COVID emergency response program should continue.
- Coordinating with Iowa Food Banks to pass a law to make food banks tax exempt.
Key Public Policy Issues
Our advocacy efforts are driven by two key principles. First, we will always work on issues that are directly related to fighting hunger. Second, we are committed to making sure that our education and advocacy messages are non-partisan. This is not only a requirement for nonprofits, but our vision for a hunger-free Iowa and Illinois is too important to be perceived as partisan, either nationally or locally. Issues we will always focus on include:
- Including healthy, fresh, locally sourced, and culturally appropriate options in food provided by USDA programs.
- Making anti-hunger programs (federal, state, and local) easier to access (e.g. removing the requirement for congregate feeding sites, using updated technology for signatures and approvals).
- Strengthening anti-hunger provisions in existing legislation including the Farm Bill, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill.
Here are some specific resources that provide up-to-date, accurate information on issues related to hunger and hunger relief efforts:
- The Feeding America site is a vital source of information. Its Hunger in America, Take Action, and Blog pages include specifics on general policy issues, actions to take, and stories to share about the fight against hunger in the US. Visit the Map the Meal Gap page to learn about food insecurity in your state and county. The sister site, Feeding America Action also contains valuable information on the issues, policies, and state-by-state resources.
- Feeding Illinois and the Iowa Food Bank Association provide contact information about the food banks in each state, as well state-specifics on the face of hunger.
- The Greater Chicago Food Depository employs a governance relations team that researches hunger issues at both the federal and local levels. Its advocacy page also features success stories, opportunities to get involved, and past webinars on different topics.