As of Monday, January 11th, the 2016 Legislative Session is officially underway. While the session is expected to be a short one, 60 days, it’s imperative as ever that we advocate for legislation to protect and strengthen the safety net for our underserved neighbors. As service providers, this also means empowering our fellow staff, volunteers, and customers to share their stories before our legislators around issues of hunger, housing, homelessness, and more.
Not sure where to begin? Here is a guide for legislative priorities from the Washington State Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition and an invitation to join us at Hunger Action Day on January 22nd at the Capitol.
- Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition’s 2016 Legislative Priorities:
Expand Access to School Breakfast in High Need Schools:
Washington ranks 43rd out of 50 states in serving breakfast to low-income students. School breakfast legislation will require very high need schools to offer breakfast in the classroom, grab and go, and second chance breakfast to almost 175,000 low-income students.
UDFB is proud to provide weekend meals and snacks for over 450 students at ten Seattle Public Schools through our Packs For Kids program. We support Breakfast After the Bell legislation to fill meal gaps during the school day so students have the opportunity to succeed.
Restore the Promise of the Local Farms, Healthy Kids Act for Washington’s Kids, Schools, and Farm Economy:
Restoring $250,000 to WSDA’s Farm to School and Small Farms/Direct Market Farms programs will strengthen connections between farmers and local schools and markets.
UDFB actively sources fresh produce from local farms and food hubs for our Home Delivery program and walk-in food bank. We believe strongly in building relationships with local farmers to improve nutrition and strengthen our community.
Protect Investments in Nutrition, Health and Economic Stability for People in Need:
UDFB supports the protection of funding for services including school meals, Basic Food/State Food Assistance, Emergency Food Assistance Program, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, Housing and Essential Needs Program, and the Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance Program, and more.
These critical services make up the safety net many of our customers rely on to meet their basic needs. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), helps ensure that food banks have the resources they need to meet local needs – from food purchasing to transportation to staffing and equipment.
Fix Our State’s Tax System to Preserve and Restore Critical Services
UDFB supports Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition’s position on a balanced, sustainable state budget that includes new sources of revenue and that reforms out tax system in order to protect, strengthen, and restore services that help low-income families to meet their basic needs.
Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition’s annual lobbying event, Hunger Action Day, will be held on January 22nd. Meet with your legislators and let your voice be heard! Find more info and register here: http://www.wsahnc.org/annual-lobby-day/#.VnRjJ7YrLs0
- For updates and calls to action throughout the session, follow the Washington Food Coalition on Facebook and sign up to receive their e-newsletter: http://www.wafoodcoalition.org/