HUNGER FREE AMERICATM (formerly known as the New York City Coalition Against Hunger) is a nonpartisan, national nonprofit group working to enact the policies and programs needed to end domestic hunger and ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to nutritious food.
We are both a direct service and advocacy organization, with each initiative supporting the other. As a direct service provider in New York City, we assist low-income families and individuals apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program so that people struggling to pay their bills have access to nutritious food. Because our staff members are in the field day in and day out, we know firsthand what challenges low-income people face, and thus take this knowledge with us as we advocate elected officials to enact laws that alleviate poverty and hunger.
Advocacy, Research, and Policy: Our advocacy team is a voice for millions who struggle against U.S. hunger. One of the most effective and courageous advocacy groups in the nation, we work directly with elected officials on the city, state, and federal levels to advance policies to end hunger and promote economic justice. We played a key role in beating back Trump and House G.O.P. proposals to take billions of dollars in nutrition assistance away from millions of children, seniors, working people, veterans, people with disabilities, and unemployed people by advocating for a strong Farm Bill without any cuts to SNAP. We also conduct ground-breaking research and publish cutting-edge reports that propose bold – yet concrete and realistic – solutions to hunger and poverty.
AmeriCorps VISTA: In 2018, our AmeriCorps VISTA program operated across 27 states with 76 full-time national service participants, recruited 3,779 volunteers to build the capacities of local anti-hunger programs, and directly enabled 2,145 families to receive government nutrition assistance. In the summer of 2019, we had 21 year-long AmeriCorps VISTA members as well as 25 Summer Associates serving at organizations in New York and California.
Benefits Access: Our team works to connect low-income New Yorkers with benefits to access food across all five boroughs. Our staff screens individuals for federal nutrition assistance programs, and helps them through the application and recertification process. Our VISTA program also increases access to nutrition benefits nationwide. In 2019, our team connected more than 2,550 food insecure New Yorkers with SNAP benefits. We also distributed more than 200,000 free Neighborhood Guides to Food and Assistance to over 550 agencies.
Child Nutrition: Our child nutrition program works to ensure that every child in America has access to sufficient, nutritious food. By increasing participation in free summer meals and school breakfasts, we connect kids with the food they need in order to grow and thrive. We led successful efforts to get New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to propose – and the State Legislature to enact into law – a mandate for all high-needs schools to serve breakfasts in first-period classrooms. As a result, hundreds of thousands of additional children state-wide will receive healthy breakfasts every school day.
Food Action Board (FAB): Our pioneering FAB program empowers low-income community members to fight for their own futures and build the anti-hunger movement by helping them develop their leadership, advocacy, and community organizing skills. FAB Members take on key positions and leadership roles in efforts at the city, state, and federal levels aimed at promoting food security and economic opportunity. In the past year, Hunger Free America has worked with 60 community members in five different under-resourced neighborhoods throughout New York City to fight for their own futures and build the anti-hunger movement by helping them develop their leadership, advocacy, and community organizing skills.
Strategic Volunteerism Program: Our ground-breaking Ending Hunger Through Strategic Volunteerism initiative connects people and groups with skills-based and high-impact volunteer opportunities that make the biggest difference in the national fight against hunger. Our newly launched web site, HungerVolunteer.org, offers hunger organizations and the public innovative strategies and tools for engaging volunteers in effective activities to build the capacity of nonprofit groups, increase participation in government nutrition assistance programs, and advocate for improved economic and governmental policies. Since March of this year, Hunger Free America has had 400 volunteers work on COVID-19 related projects, serving approximately 1,362 hours.
USDA Clearinghouse: Our USDA National Hunger Hotline is a resource for individuals and families seeking information about how to obtain emergency food. The Hotline staff connects callers with emergency food providers in their community, government assistance programs, and various social services such as SNAP, WIC, and Summer Meals. Working under contract from the federal government, we enabled more than 8,305 individuals and families to access non-profit and government food resources in 2019.