July 30, 2018: NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES - Legislator stories: Addressing hunger in the states

July 30, 2018

Read the complete article, including other interviews, HERE:

Introduction

In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, hunger remains a serious problem. In 2016, 41.2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households. Food insecurity, defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food, affects every community in the United States.

Federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are proven effective in alleviating food insecurity and lifting millions out of poverty. In 2016, SNAP reduced the number of Americans in poverty by 3.6 million. SNAP provides vital support to low-income families and significant economic stimulus to local economies. For every $5 of SNAP benefits, $9 is generated in local economic activity. The majority of SNAP recipients are children, working parents, seniors and people with disabilities.

NCSL’s bipartisan Hunger Partnership brings together state legislators, corporate, and nonprofit partners to address hunger in the states. Below are excerpts from short interviews with Hunger Partnership state legislators about innovative hunger solutions and lessons learned in their states. Follow the links to listen to the full interviews.

Senator Holly Mitchell (D), California

As chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, Mitchell shares the innovative approaches the committee took to addressing hunger through the state’s FY 2018 budget. Among the issues tackled through state funding: Hunger on college campuses, access to fruits and vegetables in food deserts, and access to food during California’s wildfires.

“I think, globally, I would say that recognizing the importance of increasing resources and purchasing power to our low-income residents is the fundamental best way we can help address hunger,” she said.

“Oftentimes, at least here in California, we leave money and opportunity on the table because we’re not willing to create matching funds, as a matching opportunity to partner. I think looking at those opportunities is really important. As states, we cannot and should not be expected to do it alone. But we can be the bridge between existing infrastructure, other governmental entities, other nonprofits, other service providers—and be that necessary link in order to expand access to critical services that will help address hunger across your state.”

Listen to the full interview with Mitchell by clicking HERE: