“Our Community, Our Voice: Advocacy tools for the Busy Nonprofit” was the subject of the Capital Area Food Bank’s annual Northern Virginia Hunger Summit held Sept. 30 at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria. In addition to the 150 participants representing emergency feeding programs from Virginia, DC and Maryland, three Virginia elected representatives spoke and interacted with the attendees – Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The conference opened with welcoming remarks from Lynn Brantley, president and CEO of the CAFB, who talked about the growing hunger crisis and the food bank’s commitment to reach those who are most in need with nutritious food with an emphasis on fresh produce.
The keynote address was given by Brian Banks, the CAFB’s director of public policy, who talked about the increased demand facing emergency feeding programs. He challenged those present to step out of their comfort zones and become advocates.
Other speakers addressed such topics as developing a passion for public policy, creating a public policy plan, testifying in public hearings, and starting food cooperatives. They included:
- Max Finberg director of USDA Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Kristin Youngblood, media relations specialist for Bread for the World
- Alexandra Ashbrook, director of DC Hunger Solutions
- Susie Cambria, writer of the popular blog Susie’s Budget and Policy Corner
- Nancy Yarnell, Food Security for America
Rep. Moran stayed throughout the conference and said in closing, “We have a moral responsibility to follow our faith’s direction to feed the hungry, to nourish and replenish their bodies, and in so doing, we nourish and replenish our own souls.”