DONATE FOR TODAY, ADVOCATE FOR TOMORROW
Move For Hunger’s mission is to mobilize the relocation industry to reduce food waste and fight hunger. Rescuing and donating meals for our neighbors in need is so important because millions of people need help today. Food banks and soup kitchens, however, are not a long-term solution to the problem.
So while we must continue to donate our food when we move, hold food drives, and volunteer, we must also advocate for the policies that will address the root causes of hunger.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is the public support for or recommendation of a cause or policy, and it can take many forms.
Sharing our Hunger Facts page on Facebook, for example, is one of the easiest ways that you can advocate for our cause. Calling for your elected officials and telling them that you want them to do more to help people facing hunger in your community, is also advocacy.
Food insecurity is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed through, as the Alliance to End Hunger says, “a combination of economic and political solutions.” This includes strengthening social safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. It will also, according to the Food Research & Action Center, require creating jobs, raising wages, and improving income support for struggling families, among other strategies.
Hunger is a symptom of the larger problems of poverty and inequality. If we want to solve hunger once and for all, we need to reduce the need for emergency assistance that food banks provide.
Charity vs. Public Policy
To illustrate just how important governmental policy is, consider that just one in 20 bags of food assistance comes from a food bank, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter. Federal nutrition programs provide the rest. Just a 10% reduction in SNAP benefits would be the equivalent of eliminating all private food donations in the country.
So while it’s still as important as ever to host a food drive, it’s also necessary to publicly support – to advocate for – the policies that will address the root causes of hunger and poverty, such as an inadequate social safety net, unemployment, substandard education, income inequality, the wealth gap, food access, lack of affordable housing, and insufficient health care.
Hunger & Politics
Hunger is an inherently political issue. Millions of Americans are hungry because of choices we, as a country, have collectively made. Remedying the problem will require an extraordinary commitment to our disadvantaged citizens.
The good news is that hunger is also a bipartisan concern. Eighty-six percent of Americans agree that no one should go hungry and 71% feel that the federal government is responsible for dealing with the problem.
Public sentiment is on our side; we just need to put it into action.
What You Can Do
- Encourage your family & friends to get involved We can’t end hunger by going it alone. Odds are you already have a number of potential allies in your immediate network. Learn about the issues and then share that information with your friends and family. Try starting a conversation on social media by sharing our Hunger Facts page or one of Visualize Hunger infographics.
Once your family & friends understand the urgency of the problem, perhaps you can work together to organize a food drive in your community, hold a fundraiser to support our programs, or turn your miles into meals with Team Move For Hunger.
- Contact your elected officials
Communicating with your elected officials is the most effective action you can take as a Move For Hunger advocate. We need to express our support for policies that will alleviate hunger and to voice our dissent when necessary. A recent study showed that being contacted by constituents increases the probability of supporting the relevant legislation by about 12 percentage points.
Use this directory to find contact information for your elected officials on both the local and national level. Let them know that you are a constituent who is concerned about hunger and food waste and wish to speak to someone regarding these issues.Social media is another powerful tool for communicating directly with elected officials; use this verified list of members of Congress on Twitter to instantly voice your opinion about the issues that matter to you.
Attend Town Hall/City Council MeetingsHunger and poverty are massive national problems, and, when faced with the facts, it can appear overwhelming to the average citizen searching for a way to help. The best way to start is to try and make an impact in your own community.
Town Hall meetings are wonderful opportunities to have face-to-face conversations with elected officials about the issues that matter to you, and are a great way to familiarize yourself with broader concerns in your local community. According to the Alliance to End Hunger, “Town hall meetings stem from a deep-rooted American tradition in which elected officials and other government representatives can communicate with their constituents about pressing community issues and policy processes.”
So how do you find out when and where these meetings are happening? There are a few things you can do to stay informed:
- Check your local newspaper for announcements; fliers may also be posted on bulletin boards in your local post office or city hall.
- Visit the website of your representatives. Consider signing up for their newsletters, as they will often send e-mails to keep your apprised of their upcoming appearances.
- Follow your elected officials on social media. There’s a great chance they will announce upcoming meetings via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Call the office of your elected official. Staffers will be happy to share the information with you.