By Brett Weisel, Director of Advocacy for Feeding America
As the 2012 election heats up, it is important to remember the role our elected officials can play in helping us achieve our vision of a hunger-free America. More importantly, we as their constituents can do a lot to urge them to act. Everyone can play a role, and because of the scope and reach of programs like SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) — which put food on the table for hungry Americans — our federal government plays a particularly important role. That’s why during September, the month Feeding America has designated as Hunger Action Month, it is critical that we lend our voice to the cause and Speak Out Against Hunger™.
The federal government is one of many partners in the fight against hunger, and it is uniquely positioned to help us advance our cause. We have a set of public policy issues that we work on, including fighting for funding for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), child hunger programs and others. Our policy goals derived from our values as an organization and as a nation.
You may agree or disagree with the role the federal government should play in achieving these goals, but as the Director of Advocacy at Feeding America, I see access to food as access to opportunity. Our nation was built on the concept that everyone should be on a level playing field, that we all should have the opportunity to achieve the “American Dream.” Ever think about how difficult it must be to achieve the American Dream if your concern first and foremost is how you’re going to feed your children?
In my opinion, supporting federal anti-hunger programs isn’t about giving a hand out. It’s about providing help up. So that those in need can achieve more.
When people in our communities don’t have enough food to get through the day, it costs us all. Hunger creates health problems. Children struggle to learn. Workers are less productive. Opportunities are lost.
So as you are thinking about who to cast your vote for this November, consider those families in your community struggling to get by, and the opportunities they lose because they are going to sleep with empty stomachs. Think about the opportunities we can create simply by ensuring hungry families have access to adequate, healthy food to get through their day. Then think about which candidates are willing to fight for those that are less fortunate and will create policies that will bring new opportunities for hungry Americans.
If you share our vision for a hunger-free America and would like to tell your elected official it’s time to do something about it, visit Feeding America on Facebook to send them a personalized postcard with ways they can help and why it matters to you.
Do your part during Hunger Action Month. Speak Out Against Hunger today.