Source: Marc Berman’s Twitter. Left to right: Andrew Cheyne, Director of Government Affairs at California Association of Food Banks; Marc Berman, California Assemblymember, 24th District; Tracy Weatherby, Vice President of Strategy and Advocacy at Second Harvest.

Last month, Second Harvest joined 40 other food banks from across the state for the 2019 Conference to End Hunger, hosted by the California Association of Food Banks in Sacramento. Over two days, our peers in the food-banking space shared their knowledge and expertise around emergency response preparedness, innovation in client services and current legislation impacting hunger relief efforts.

As Second Harvest continually strives to optimize our programs and test new and innovative ways to better serve our clients, our staff walked away motivated and eager to apply their learnings:

“The presentations by Leah’s Pantry were exceptional! Understanding how trauma affects a person’s ability to access, choose and utilize nutritious food is critical to our efforts to eliminate food insecurity in our community. The Client Innovation Team will continue to learn from Leah’s Pantry and develop those learnings for our client experience best practices.” – Olivia Teter, Head of Client Innovation

Slide from Leah’s Pantry’s session on trauma-informed nutrition security

“I was reconnected to the traumas and challenges that some of our clients face before they even get to our food distributions, and how important it is to keep this in mind when designing programs. I felt honored to be part of the army of food bankers in California addressing the human right to enough healthy food. It’s inspiring to be with others working on the same mission.” – Anna Dyer, Director of Programs

Capital Action Day: Advocating for our clients

After the conference, several of our staff headed to the capital to engage legislators and advocate for programs that impact our clients and community.

Vice President of Strategy and Advocacy Tracy Weatherby shared her team’s experience visiting legislators and their staff:

“During a whirlwind day, we spoke to the staff of eight offices, including Governor Gavin Newsom’s, to lobby for increased reimbursement for school meals and support for Breakfast After the Bell programs that help feed more children at school. We advocated for easier access to CalFresh for college students and breaking down the barriers for all individuals and families who apply for the program.

In addition to many dedicated staff people, we were able to meet directly with Senator Jim Beall, Assemblymember Robert Rivas and Assemblymember Kansen Chu. We also had the privilege of presenting an award to Assemblymember Mark Berman for his partnership in the fight against hunger.”

We in California are lucky to have representatives who share our goal of ensuring that everyone who needs a healthy meal can get one. It is always a pleasure to connect with them and share our priorities for the year ahead.

To learn more about our policy priorities, check out our 2019 policy agenda.