The 2020 Anti-Hunger Day was championed by nearly 100 volunteers who were recognized for their efforts by Majority Deputy Floor Leader John Pfeiffer (R-Dist. 38) on the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd (D-Dist. 46) on the floor of Senate.
"We are so grateful for the advocates who volunteered their time to give a voice to Oklahomans living with food insecurity," said Kendra Loper, chief community engagement officer. "Engaging lawmakers is integral to both raising awareness to the issue of hunger in the state and our work toward providing food assistance to our neighbors who live with hunger every day."
In Oklahoma, one in six residents live with food insecurity. Anti-Hunger Day advocates asked lawmakers to support policies that remove barriers and increase both access and awareness to food and nutrition programs as well as legislation that address the intersections of hunger and health.
Lawmakers were also encouraged to visit the food pantries and agencies in their districts that are providing assistance to those living with food insecurity.
“Our volunteers were impressed by the reception the Oklahoma legislators provided,” said Ryan Walker, interim CEO of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “The recurring message we kept hearing was that feeding people who are hungry in Oklahoma is a non-partisan issue. We look forward to keeping our hunger advocates engaged while continuing our communication and problem solving with lawmakers.”
Attendees also heard from several lawmakers who are actively pushing anti-hunger legislation and working within their communities to fight hunger:
- Rep. Jeff Boatman (R-Dist. 67)
- Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-Dist. 85)
- Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Dist. 73)
- Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-Dist.99)
"We are thrilled so many passionate advocates from around the state took time away from their lives to spend their day at the state capitol," said Chris Bernard, executive director at Hunger Free Oklahoma. "Our advocates are investing in cultivating a personal connection with elected officials, which furthers our unified vision of ending hunger for all Oklahomans."
The Regional Food Bank’s production kitchen, Hope’s Kitchen, provided lunch for advocates, lawmakers and their legislative assistants. The meal was typical of what a child in the organization’s Summer Feeding or Kids Café Programs would receive. Ahead of Anti-Hunger Day, House of Representatives legislative assistants organized a food drive that collected 327 pounds of food for Oklahomans living with hunger.
To learn more about advocating against hunger in Oklahoma, visit rfbo.org/advocate
or contact Bailey Perkins, state advocacy and public policy director for the Oklahoma Food Banks, at email@example.com.