Since March of this year, demand for emergency food assistance is up 25% across the state — as much as 300% in high-need communities — and each food bank is purchasing at least twice as much food every month compared to last year. We have weathered the initial surge, but we know the hunger crisis will be with us for some time, which is why we are so grateful for our partners in government, business, and human services.
Collectively, the Federation food banks are Virginia’s largest charitable response to hunger, but we recognize we are part of a much bigger picture when it comes to the safety net, the food system, and poverty. We have come to recognize that it is not enough for us to simply feed the line… we must work to shorten the line.
The Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger emphasizes the importance of federal, state, and local policies and programs being in authentic partnerships with grassroots organizations, which are driven by the lived experiences of food insecure families.
The report outlines an array of strategies and policy goals across multiple focus areas that build on practices we know work – because we’ve seen them work. When pursued in concert with one another, across the public and private sectors, they offer the promise of meaningful change for our food insecure neighbors.
Some of the recommendations include:
- Expand of Child Nutrition Programs
- Increase Participation in SNAP and WIC
- Increase Nutrition Support for Seniors
- Grow Access to Local Food for Schools and Families
- Strengthen the Connections Between Food Access Programs and the Healthcare Sector
- Encourage Investment in Food Deserts and Marginalized Communities
- Amplify Public Awareness of Hunger
- Support Community Organizing – Hunger Action Coalitions
The Roadmap is designed to be a living, dynamic document that is responsive to changes in policy, the economic realities of our state, and the conditions of our food system.
Shortening the line means being strategic, working through partnerships, and aligning resources in sustained efforts that achieve true collective impact. The Roadmap offers a guide for how we might do just that.
Learn more about the Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger here.
Read the Nov. 3, 2020 Richmond Times Dispatch editorial.