August 17, 2020
FRAC and our network of anti-hunger partners are working tirelessly to ensure that no one goes hungry during this pandemic.
- We’re connecting growing numbers of food-insecure families to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other federal nutrition programs.
- We’re also advocating for policy changes and increased funding to help these programs respond to the unprecedented nutrition-related needs of the pandemic.
- We’re doubling down on income and wage supports to help people get through COVID-19, and to pave the way for more equitable policies that, among other needs, promote jobs with adequate and reliable hours, good wages, and benefits that support families.
But this is not enough to secure the future of the millions of Americans who are struggling against hunger.
Solving hunger requires the political will to safeguard and strengthen the federal nutrition programs and to address the systemic racism that perpetuates and exacerbates poverty, the root cause of hunger.
With the 2020 elections less than four months away, there are concrete steps that 501(c)(3)s can take to ensure that no one goes hungry. Here are just three examples.
- Register people to vote and work to get out the vote. Low-income citizens are registered to vote at much lower rates than higher-income citizens, meaning that many people struggling with hunger are likely missing out on the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process, and to voice their support for the federal nutrition programs that are designed to help people who are food insecure like them. When people struggling with hunger and poverty don’t vote, candidates and elected officials are less likely to focus on issues, like hunger and poverty, and solutions, like the federal nutrition programs and stable, well-compensated jobs. There are many nonpartisan ways that anti-hunger organizations can work to ensure that the voices of low-income citizens are heard, ranging from assisting clients with voter registration, to promoting Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act, to partnering with Nonprofit VOTE on National Voter Registration Day activities.
- Get people counted. A full, fair, and accurate census is a necessary precursor to our nation’s efforts to address poverty and food insecurity. Findings from the census are used to determine how billions of public and private dollars are distributed, including funds designated to address hunger and poverty. The census’s results are used to determine the number of seats in the House of Representatives for each state, and are used in state redistricting. Both of these are pivotal to ensuring that all voices are heard and represented in the policies and programs that policymakers and legislators implement. Nonprofits that work with people experiencing food insecurity have an important role to play. We can promote the many reasons why responding to the 2020 Census is critical for increasing the quality of life among the communities and people we work with, share information about how households can respond, offer resources that are available to help (e.g., translation services), and amplify other key messages (such as who should respond and privacy protections).
- Educate candidates about hunger and poverty. Nonprofits can engage with candidates in order to elevate the issue of hunger and poverty, and to build relationships with future elected officials. This is permissible as long as any candidate engagement is done on a nonpartisan basis. Some common ways nonprofits can engage candidates include having materials on hunger, and the solutions to ending it, that are available to candidates, or sponsoring a candidate forum with other social justice partners. To learn more, visit: Anti-Hunger Nonprofits and the Elections.
FRAC will be sharing resources and materials to help with this work. We’re co-hosting a series of webinars with the Coalition on Human Needs, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and NETWORK on actions that nonprofits can take to register people to vote and get out the vote. Register for the webinars here. We’ll also be working with Vote to End Hunger.
We hope you will join us! This is a once-in-a-generation time for the anti-hunger community to secure the political will necessary to end hunger in America.