Alliance Holds First-Ever Advocacy Day
March 24, 2015
Nathan Magrath, Manager of Communications and Outreach, Alliance to End Hunger
The Alliance to End Hunger recently surpassed 90 members in its ever-expanding coalition. This represents an increasingly diverse array of viewpoints, initiatives, research and experience. It also represents an astounding amount of cumulative organizational knowledge on hunger-related issues. The Alliance to End Hunger’s Advocacy Committee decided to utilize this unique advantage and decided to organize the Alliance to End Hunger’s first-ever Advocacy Day.
On March 11 the Advocacy Committee, with the assistance of Alliance staff, organized a series of meetings with Senators, Members of Congress, and congressional staffs. Over a dozen representatives from Alliance to End Hunger member organizations participated in the meetings throughout the day. Targeted congressional offices included many new legislators who had either recently been elected to Congress, or had moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate.
In addition to meetings with freshman Members, Alliance Executive Director Emeritus Amb. Tony Hall and Advocacy Committee co-chair Rick McNary met with Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) themselves—two long-time acquaintances and former colleagues of Ambassador Hall.
The overall message of the day was to present the Alliance to End Hunger’s coalition as a valuable resource to congressional staff—with access to a wide variety of information concerning food security, nutrition, agriculture, and other domestic and international hunger-related issues. The Alliance also presented congressional offices with one-page information sheets developed by the Advocacy Committee. These one-pagers provide an overview of hunger as it relates to key related issues such as health (both domestic andinternational), agriculture, and national security. Members of Congress and their staffs were also urged to become more involved in the issue of hunger overall, and were asked to consider joining the House or Senate Hunger Caucus.
“It is important to continuously engage congressional offices around the issue of hunger,” stated Amb. Hall. “With an increasingly polarized atmosphere here in Washington, we have an excellent opportunity to promote such a historically non-partisan issue.”
Two legislative priorities were also highlighted: Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) and the Global Food Security Act (GFSA). CNR, which is set to expire at the end of FY 2015, authorizes school feeding programs (breakfast, lunch, and summer meals), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and other domestic food programs. The Global Food Security Act, which has now been introduced in both the House and Senate, would legislate a whole-of-government approach to continue a comprehensive, sustainable approach to agricultural development and food/nutrition security.
The Alliance is in the preliminary stages of planning its next advocacy day, which is expected to include a larger number of congressional offices and Alliance members. Alliance members interested in participating will hear plans in the coming months. You can also learn about joining through our membership page.