Advocate for Hunger Relief and Prevention

Food banks play a critical role in ending hunger, but we can’t do it alone. Our food bank strategically engages in advocacy work to raise awareness and mobilize support to end hunger, improve economic security, and promote health and well-being for our community members. This includes informing the public and policymakers about food insecurity, educating them on policies and programs that will improve food access, and encouraging them to partner with us to end hunger.

Public policy has an enormous impact on the amount of resources that our food bank is able to distribute, as well as the amount of assistance needed by members of our community. Ending hunger is not only about providing emergency food to people in need – it also means taking action and organizing to pass public policies and legislation that support our food bank’s long-term strategies to ensure universal access to sufficient, affordable, and nutritious foods.

2016 Anti-Hunger Legislative Agenda

State Priorities

Increase state funding and incentivize private donations for emergency food assistance networks

SEFAP (State Emergency Food Assistance Program) Establish a state funding mechanism for food banks (SEFAP) that invests $5 million annually in California’s emergency food assistance network. Position: Support

Update: California invested $2 million into this program through the state budget that passed in June!

AB 1577 (Eggman) Establish a 15% wholesale value tax credits to agricultural producers who donate to California food banks. Position: Support

Update: California included this tax credit in the state budget that passed in June!

Improve access to and streamline the federal nutrition assistance program CalFresh

Market Match Program Invest $5 million annually in California’s Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program to double CalFresh recipients’ purchasing power when buying fresh produce. Position: Support

Update: California invested $5 million into this program through the state budget that passed in June!

AB 1770 (Alejo) Update CalFresh eligibility standards to include all legally present immigrants and refugees who meet all other eligibility rules. Position: Support

Update: Governor Brown vetoed this bill.

AB 2057 (Stone) Clarify laws concerning replacement benefits for CalFresh recipients fleeing domestic violence. Position: Support

Update: This bill was signed into law!

Strengthen nutritional aspects of income support programs

AB 1584 (Brown) Establish an automatic cost of living increase each year for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) grants that are intended to cover the food and living costs of low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Position: Support

Update: Governor Brown vetoed this bill.

Expand access to school meals during the school year and nutrition assistance during summer months

Breakfast After the Bell Require schools where over 60% of students are low-income to offer breakfast after the bell and those with over 80% to provide free breakfast to all pupils after instruction begins. Position: Support

Update: California invested $2 million increase startup and expansion grants for after-the-bell breakfast programs in high-poverty schools through the state budget that passed in June!

AB 2054 (Thurmond) Design a Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program (SEBTC) to provide nutrition assistance benefits to eligible households during the summer when kids lose access to school meals. Position: Support

Update: This bill unfortunately died in the Senate Appropriations Committee

Federal Priorities

  1. Expand access to child nutrition programs including school breakfast and lunch, summer meals, and supplemental nutrition assistance for women, infants, and children
  2. Protect and strengthen the federal nutrition assistance program SNAP (known as CalFresh in California)
  3. Support USDA commodity purchases of non-perishable foods for food bank distributions

Please contact Carly Finkle at with any questions about our legislative agenda.

Local Initiatives

CalFresh Outreach Reduce stigma, improve public perception, and increase participation in the CalFresh program.

Update: Key achievements of the local CalFresh Partnership

School Meals Outreach Increase awareness, accessibility, and participation in school breakfast, lunch, and summer meal programs.

Take Action

  • Sign up for Advocacy Alerts: The best way to get involved in our advocacy efforts is to sign up for our HungerFighters e-newsletter. We will send you monthly public policy updates and action alerts to keep you informed of the issues and proposed solutions.
  • Contact Your Elected Representatives: Policymakers at federal, state, and local levels make important decisions that can have a tangible impact on food access and quality of life in our communities. As a constituent, your voice matters. Let your elected representatives know that ending hunger is a priority and help us educate them on what they can do to relieve it.
    • Be sure to look up your state and federal representatives so you know who to contact to voice your support and concerns around specific legislation.
  • Share Your Story: Our Food Bank works to elevate the voices of community members that rely on our programs and nutrition assistance to make ends meet. Help us ensure that your story is heard by policymakers by telling us about the challenges you have faced in accessing sufficient, affordable, and nutritious foods.

Advocacy Resources

For more information about how you can help take action against hunger, please contact Carly Finkle at or call 925-676-7543 ext. 261.