The Center for Hunger-Free Communities is about more than research and telling stories. We strongly believe in the need to take action to inform public policy. In a city where one-third to one-half of all households with children cannot afford food, everyone needs to get involved in finding solutions. Government agencies, corporations, hospitals, foundations, nonprofits and ordinary citizens all have important roles to play in this process.
Why Policy Matters
Public policy influences all of us on a daily basis. Policy decisions determine how society collects taxes, supports families, educates kids, cares for the sick, builds new roads and shelters homeless. Good policies can make lives better. For example, it can make food safer to eat and streets safer for play. In the same way, bad policies can make life harder, by making education harder to attain and health care more expensive, for example. Influencing the policy process is an important way to improve communities.
Who Makes Policy
All too often, policies and programs are created without the participation of the individuals and families who will be affected most. Elected officials and government administrators rarely hear the concerns of struggling families before casting their votes or writing regulations. The good news is that those who do speak up for themselves, their families and their neighborhoods often get heard by policymakers.
How to Inform Policy
Everyone has a role to play in shaping good public policy. Get to know the issues that matter to you. Tell your story, as the members of Witnesses to Hunger so courageously do. Contact your elected leaders and tell them you will hold them accountable for the policy choices they make. Vote. Talk to your friends and neighbors about the issues and how they can get involved.
How the Center Engages in Policy Development
The Center uses its research to inform lawmakers and influencers about the impact of policies and suggest necessary changes in a number of priority areas including food, health, housing, education, banking, technology, banking and employment.
Additionally, members of the Center's programs including the Building Wealth and Health Network and Witnesses to Hunger regularly speak out and offer testimony on issues impacting their families and the community at local, state and national meetings of policy makers and write opinion and editorial articles for local and national publications. The Center also convenes and supports community members with lived experiences, such as the SNAP Participants Collaborative, in efforts to make systemic changes to address economic and food insecurity.