Lobbying Springfield to End Hunger Now: My Day in Pictures

May 15, 2013
by Emily Basten

The Illinois State Capitol, Abe Lincoln and me!

More than 150 partners, volunteers and staff of the Greater Chicago Food Depository traveled to Springfield on May 1, 2013, to discuss hunger in our community with our elected officials. I had the great opportunity to be a part of the group and lend my voice to end hunger in my state.

Our mission was to meet with our state representatives and senators to draw attention to the bipartisan 2013 anti-hunger legislative agenda. We asked each official for three straightforward actions, to: support a strong federal nutrition safety net, reject cuts to state reimbursement for the Free and Reduced School Breakfast and Lunch Program, and support funding for Governor Quinn's 2014 proposed budget for the Older Adults Feeding Program.

One of the most important things I learned is that 1 in every 6, or 2 million, Illinois residents are enrolled in SNAP, the cornerstone of the nutrition safety net. Of Illinois SNAP participants, 1 in 2 are kids—that is 1 million kids that benefit from SNAP in Illinois alone! Any reduction in funding or change in policy that seeks to exclude individuals participating in SNAP will increase the number of hungry Americans and will affect the lives of those who need our help the most. Threats to SNAP affect every community in the country. Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap research shows you what hunger looks like in your area.

Today, Wednesday, May 15, we are in trouble. Despite our best efforts to convince Congress to balance the budget in a way that doesn't hurt families struggling with hunger, the House Agriculture Committee is poised to vote on a Farm Bill that will cut SNAP, or food stamps, by $21 billion. Talking points and the phone number to connect with your representative are available in yesterday's blog post by Brett Weisel, director of advocacy and government relations. Call today.

You can also visit the Feeding America Hunger Action Center to learn how you can become an advocate to end hunger now. Speaking with our elected leaders about hunger (in person or virtually) is one of the easiest—and most important—ways we can ensure millions of Americans have access to the food they need to live healthy lives. We all have a role to play.

Here's a look at my day:

4:38 a.m. on the road
4:38 a.m. and on my way to the food bank!


Day (5:00 a.m.) and night (6:30 p.m.) at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, where we started and ended our day of advocacy.


Brushing Up
Advocacy 101—brushing up on on the way to Springfield.


1st Look at Capitol
First look at the Capitol.


Hunger Rally People
Hunger Rally on the steps of the Capitol. From left: Senator Don Harmon, Representative Elizabeth Hernandez, Senator Michael W. Frerichs and Representative William Davis stand in front of the Abraham Lincoln statue to speak about ending hunger in Illinois.



Walking In
Walking into the Capitol each group had a list of representatives and senators to find and speak with based on where we live or where our organization is located.

A group from Illinois's 13th congressional district meets with Senator Kwame Raoul.


Ride Home
Tired hunger fighters ride home after a long day—ready to get up and work to end hunger again tomorrow!


Visit the Greater Chicago Food Depository Facebook page for more great photos from the event: Springfield Lobby Day.

Tags: Take Action , Illinois , Greater Chicago Food Depository

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