December 14, 2022
During 2022, the country started to “return to normal,” while still grappling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of households were struggling to make ends meet and to afford the food that they and their families need. Without the federal nutrition programs, hunger prior and during the pandemic would have been far worse. The pandemic offered critical lessons on how to effectively address hunger.
Here are 10 ways that Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) took bold steps toward a nation free from hunger.
- Advanced our Strategic Plan and new mission: For more than 50 years, FRAC has been leading the work to improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the U.S. through advocacy, partnerships, and advancing bold and equitable policy solutions.
FRAC released a roadmap that takes a multifaceted approach to tackle hunger in the United States and to further position the organization as an anti-hunger thought leader.
We’ve outlined our mission, vision, five goals, and history of FRAC on our website to underscore how the Strategic Plan is embedded in all the work across the organization. Watch a video featuring FRAC President Luis Guardia, as he discusses FRAC’s top priorities, strategies, and projects over the next few years. As he says, “everyone has a role to play in putting an end to hunger in the United States. Join us in being part of the solution. Hungry people can’t wait!”
- Momentum continues to build for Healthy School Meals for All: Across the country, parents, teachers, students, doctors, nurses, dieticians, policymakers, and many others are raising their hand in support of Healthy School Meals for All. The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and its landmark National Strategy set an ambitious but achievable goal of ending hunger by 2030. A key part of this strategy is advancing a pathway to Healthy School Meals for All. This goal builds off the lessons learned during the pandemic, when nationwide waivers allowed schools to serve free meals to all students. Those waivers expired in June 2022. The start of the 2022–2023 school year saw a return to pre-pandemic operations in most states, which meant that most students must once again be certified for free or reduced-price meals. As a result, millions of families that relied on school meals being available at no charge have lost that lifeline. Learn about successful statewide campaigns where school meals legislation was proposed or passed, and find resources with sample messages to urge your Members of Congress to support Healthy School Meals for All in your state by visiting http://www.freeschoolmealsforall.org/.
- Advocated strengthening SNAP to avoid a hunger cliff: Over the past year, FRAC has shared research around public support for expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and its enhanced authority to grant SNAP agencies flexibility on enrollment procedures end. FRAC has encouraged advocates to take action by urging Members of Congress to sponsor and pass bills that strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and improve equitable access. These include bills to increase SNAP allotments and extend SNAP to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands (H.R. 4077/S. 2191); to end SNAP time limits (H.R. 1753); and to improve SNAP access for college students (H.R. 1919).
- Launched a Network Engagement unit to support, strengthen, and expand the network: This past year, FRAC created a new unit dedicated to providing leadership and direction for building out our network of national, state, and local nonprofit organizations, public agencies, corporations, schools, health care providers, and labor organizations. FRAC’s Director of Network Engagement Betsy Kerrigan and FRAC’s Network and Events Coordinator Nomi Small are spearheading this work, which is focused on managing FRAC-sponsored events and supporting the expansion of our network. The network unit is also excited to explore new ways to foster cross-collaboration using technology and creative in-person strategies, such as affinity groups and emerging platforms. Through this collaborative work, FRAC and our network will be even better equipped to move bold policy solutions forward. Watch a video introducing the unit.
- Convened anti-hunger advocates from across the U.S.: FRAC in conjunction with Feeding America, convened their largest virtual National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference (AHPC). On March 15–17, thousands of anti-hunger advocates gathered for two days of content-rich sessions and networking opportunities, followed by a virtual day on Capitol Hill. Attendees heard from five U.S. Secretaries, gained access to best practices, innovative advocacy methods, and personal connections to help them better fight hunger in their community, their state, and at the national level. Stay tuned for information on AHPC 2023 in the coming months.
- FRAC Action Network connects advocates and policymakers: The FRAC Action Network was launched so advocates could contact their Members of Congress directly to urge them to support and pass urgently needed legislation via social media and email. To date, thousands of emails have been sent to Congress. Now is the time to ensure that improving and strengthening child nutrition programs – including expanding community eligibility, adding a third meal for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, creating a permanent Summer EBT program, streamlining the Summer Food Service Program to serve children year-round, and modernizing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – are all included in an end of the year spending package.
- Received a $20 million-dollar grant to help increase WIC participation: FRAC received a $20 million-dollar WIC grant in October from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WIC is a critical early intervention in preventing hunger — improving participants’ health, dietary intake, and birth and health outcomes with nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals for nutritionally at-risk infants, children up to 5 years old, and pregnant and postpartum individuals from households with low incomes. Through the WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Program, FRAC will partner with UnidosUS, the Native American Agriculture Fund, and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to support community-based organizations, WIC state and local agencies, and other nonprofits in developing and implementing outreach strategies to increase WIC participation and retention, with a focus on underserved populations. This news was on the heels of FRAC’s WIC report, which found that, while more families with young children are taking part in the program, too many eligible families are still missing out.
- Served as a thought leader at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health: This September’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health presented an important opportunity to make ending hunger a national priority. FRAC stands ready to work with the administration, Congress, and a wide array of diverse stakeholders to eradicate hunger and food insecurity. We strongly urge a comprehensive approach that will include various federal, state, local, and Tribal policymakers, members of the anti-hunger, health, and private sector, and people with lived expertise of hunger. Learn about FRAC’s comprehensive, national strategy to end hunger by 2030, and watch a video featuring FRAC President Luis Guardia. Read reflections from Velle Perkins, an anti-hunger advocate with lived experience with food insecurity, who attended the conference.
- Launched a public awareness campaign on SNAP in the South: SNAP is a national, public program with major local impact. It provides a way for people to keep food on the table when times are tough. FRAC worked with advocates in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama to launch a public awareness campaign on the benefits of SNAP in the Southern region of the U.S. Watch a video to see how #SNAPFeeds our communities and visit https://snapfeeds.us/ to learn more about the campaign.
- Celebrated FRAC’s 50th anniversary: As FRAC looks to the future, we took a look back on our last 50 years — the steps it took to get us where we are today and what it will take to end hunger in America. The organization officially turned 50 two years ago, but in early December, FRAC hosted a 50th anniversary celebration benefiting the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, and celebrated the anti-hunger advocacy community’s accomplishments. We took a moment to acknowledge the momentous gains in the fight against hunger and FRAC’s present and past leadership and advocacy in some of the most important initiatives, legislation, and programs, including Food Stamps (now, SNAP), WIC, and School Breakfast Program expansion in the 1970s, that, over the years, have ensured that millions do not go hungry. Hundreds of guests representing business, labor, national organizations, state and community anti-hunger groups, and the federal government attended this milestone event as we looked forward to taking even bigger and bolder steps toward a nation free of hunger. We honored FRAC’s Anti-Hunger Champions of the Year, California State Sen. Nancy Skinner, and Full Plates Full Potential in Maine. Their tireless efforts respectively led to California and Maine becoming the first two states in the country to pass legislation to make school meals for all children available at no charge a permanent solution — and the momentum continues to build across the country.
This Holiday Season, Unite to #EndHungerNow
- Join us and unite to #EndHungerNow throughout the holiday. During meetings, choose from three virtual backgrounds.
- Support FRAC’s work in the year ahead and donate today so we can continue to fight to end hunger in 2023.
- Watch a video that highlights where FRAC has been and where we are heading to end hunger in America.