FRAC On the Move is a series in which we follow our policy and program experts as they connect with advocates across the country to explore strategies and develop solutions to end hunger.

In this installment, we hear from Kate Sims, senior government relations associate about her trip to Reno for the Western Region Anti-Hunger Consortium meeting. Follow #FRACOnTheMove on Twitter for our latest whereabouts.

Tell us about your trip.

I recently attended the Western Region Anti-Hunger Consortium (WRAHC)’s bi-annual meeting in Reno, Nevada. WRAHC is supported by FRAC and MAZON and includes anti-hunger groups from nine western states.

The meeting took place shortly after the election and focused on what state anti-hunger groups can do to dissuade the incoming Administration and new Congress from making policy changes that would have a detrimental impact on the federal nutrition programs, and by extension, the people served by these programs.

Members of WRAHC recognize the importance of educating policymakers on the reality of hunger in their own communities, and in 2017 will continue highlighting the role that the federal nutrition programs play in improving their constituents’ food security, health, and well-being. As part of this, state advocates are working hard to ensure that the voices and perspectives of the people they serve are heard and understood by Congress.

What were the key takeaways?

The folks behind the state anti-hunger organizations in the West are incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated. They are fighting not just to strengthen and protect federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants, and Children (WIC), and the National School Breakfast and School Lunch programs, but also to ensure that the broader social safety net remains intact, so that those struggling against hunger and poverty can provide for themselves and their families, and contribute to their communities.

Without programs like SNAP, WIC, the school meals programs, and the child care and out of school time feeding programs, hunger in this country would be far worse. That’s why we are committed to continuing and strengthening our partnership with state anti-hunger groups, in the West and across the country, to protect these essential programs from block grants, funding cuts, and structural changes.