About Us → About Us – History
Hunger Action Network was started in 1982, primarily as the statewide voice of emergency food programs and their guests.
Hunger Action Network is a membership organization of emergency food providers, advocates, faith groups and low-income individuals whose goal is to end hunger and its root causes, including poverty, in NYS. Hunger Action Network has the dual goals of reducing hunger in the short term (e.g., increase funding for emergency food, stronger food stamp programs, more community gardens) while promoting long-term solutions such as universal health care, living wage jobs, and affordable housing.
Hunger Action has always included a strong community food program component. One of Hunger Action’s purposes has been to develop innovative approaches to ending hunger that are later adopted by the emergency food program and anti-hunger movements. Model projects have included: assisting EFP guests in applying for food stamps and other federal nutritional benefits; promoting the use of food stamps at Farmers Markets; Farm to Market initiatives to increase use of local foods in school meal programs; developing EFP vegetable gardens; gleaning; low-income participation in CSAs; the purchase of CSA shares by EFPs; strengthening nutritional standards for emergency food distribution; Seeds and Seedlings projects to assist EFP guests to grow their own food; and Grow an Extra Row campaigns to have community gardens donate food to local EFPs.
Our notable achievements in recent years include:
- Obtaining a 10% annual hike in the welfare basic grant in NYS beginning in 2013.
- Organizing hundreds of anti-hunger education and media events to raise awareness of hunger in our communities which helped lead to a $26 million increase in funding for emergency food programs over the last 25 years
- Successfully fighting for an increase in New York’s Minimum Wage in 2004
- Working with other groups to convene a statewide revenue and progressive budget campaign that successfully lead towards the enactment of a series of progressive revenue options, including a hike in the personal income tax rate for the wealthiest New Yorkers.
- Initiating a campaign for public funding of transitional jobs for welfare participants that resulted in the allocation of more than $70 million in 2009-10
- Convincing the Governor to issue an Executive Order to establish a NYS Food Policy Council (2007, renewed in 2011)
- Founding Community Voices Heard in NYC in 1994 to increase the advocacy role of welfare participants. CVH has since become an influential voice for low-income New Yorkers.
- Cofounding three low-income Community Supported Agriculture Projects in NYC (2007-09) in West Harlem, LI City and Flatbush, which offers a subsidized payment plan to those on public assistance for a $5 weekly payment that can be made with their food stamp card