Ready to get involved? Empower yourself to fight hunger in the United States and read on for tips on how to engage.
To get stay informed on trends and updates on hunger in the U.S., listservs and newsletters are great ways to keep up on the latest news and research:
Contact your elected officials
Let your Senators and Representatives at all levels of government know that you support anti-hunger and antipoverty initiatives and oppose funding cuts to existing programs.
Dispel hunger myths
Hunger is caused not by a scarcity of food, but by a lack of access to food and other resources.
- Read the Myths about Hunger to learn more about the root causes of hunger
- Introduce your local schools to the Finding Solutions to Hunger: Kids Can Make a Difference teacher guide and curriculum
- Host an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, a guided interactive event designed to increase awareness of hunger’s roots in poverty, powerlessness and inequality
Ensure that more people enroll in federal programs
Only one in three of all eligible people participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program). Individuals can contact their local SNAP or WIC office to help with education and outreach. Many local nonprofits are also involved with benefits outreach and advocacy and need volunteers. Organizations that want to promote SNAP participation through advocacy, outreach and partnerships with local anti-hunger programs can join the Outreach Coalition.
- Get involved at a soup kitchen, food pantry or other community-based food initiative – search the National Hunger Clearinghouse database to find emergency feeding programs near you
- Link up with a gleaning project, reclaiming unused food for emergency food providers
- Join the effort to increase outreach for SNAP and other nutrition benefits in your area
- Find opportunities to teach or participate in nutrition education classes – Share Our Strength offers national listings for volunteer opportunities
Get involved with advocacy organizations
Some local emergency food providers have an advocacy arm that encourages you to contact your elected officials or engage in other forms of advocacy. National organizations such as WhyHunger, Food Research and Action Center, Oxfam America, and many others, produce regular action alerts and opportunities for political advocacy. Find organizations to get involved with locally.
Transform the emergency feeding system
Many emergency food providers are initiating projects to increase the amount of fresh, local food they serve and to build self-reliance in their clients and communities. Talk to your local soup kitchen or food pantry about simple ways to move beyond charity. WhyHunger’s publication Beyond Bread: Healthy Food Sourcing in Emergency Food Prorgrams has examples, and our manual Serving up Justice shows you how to dig in.
Promote school meal programs
- Volunteer to do education and outreach to sign up more kids for school meal programs
- Encourage your local schools to source more fresh, local foods – check out the USDA guide Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs for more information
Expand venues for EBT, WIC coupons and other nutrition programs
- Work with your local farmers market, CSA or farm stand to encourage them to accept EBT cards
- Encourage stores that sell healthy foods to participate in SNAP