CT-CORE Conducts Racial Justice Forum for Witnesses to Hunger

Isa Mujahid, Founder and Organizing Director of CTCORE-Organize Now! (Community Organizing for Racial Equity) conducted the first of a four part  racial justice training series for members of Witnesses to Hunger.  The training will provide members with the knowledge and skills required to attain their vision of a united community where all people have access to adequate, good quality, and nutritious food by eliminating the racial inequities that create food insecurity and constructing just systems and institutions to replace them.

The first forum was an overview of the elements of change and systems and the foundational skills and vision required to create systemic change .

Advocacy Day – We Are Hungry For Change

On Wednesday May 1st, numerous members of Witnesses to Hunger went to the Capitol in Hartford to participate in Hunger Advocacy Day. We heard from Susan Bysiewicz (Lieutenant Governor), Bryan Hurlburt (Agriculture Commissioner), Jason Jakubowski (Foodshare CEO), Bernie Beaudreau (CT Food Bank CEO), Robin Lamott Sparks (End Hunger CT! Executive Director), and our very own Witnesses to Hunger site leader Kim Hart. Kim talked about why legislation and policy changes are important in the fight towards ending hunger. She emphasized how lived and learned experiences go together, and that’s why policy makers need Witnesses to Hunger.

Kim Hart speaking at Hunger Advocacy Day in Hartford, CT.

All of the speakers (listed above) recognized Witnesses to Hunger and our “sea of blue t-shirts” in the audience. They expressed enthusiasm about working together.

Witnesses displayed a photo voice exhibit around the room for attendees to see. The photos represented what hunger looks like on an individual level – capturing images like fridges and freezers before and after SNAP benefit allotments, soup kitchens, dinner made with food pantry items, and the price differences between meats.

Photo voice exhibit 1.
Photo voice exhibit 2.
Photo voice exhibit 3.

After the speaking event, Witnesses went to different legislator’s offices to introduce themselves, describe the work they do, and advocate for policy changes.

Photos of Witnesses advocating at past events.

Stay tuned for what comes next for Witnesses to Hunger! There are a lot of exciting events and opportunities in the works.

Witnesses at the Hamden Hunger Summit

On Thursday April 25th, some New Haven Witnesses to Hunger members represented at Hamden’s Hunger Summit in Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum. They led small table discussions regarding hunger and food hardship. Site leader Kim Hart is quoted in the New Haven Independent talking about why this event is so important. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Senator Chris Murphy personally recognized their work in the community and advocacy efforts.

The Hamden Hunger Summit marked the release of a
data report about those in Hamden struggling with hunger. The report combines stories and data to portray an accurate picture of what hunger look like in Hamden. This all came together under the Hamden Food Security Task Force – a group of non-profits, food service organizations, concerned community members, and local school officials partnering to end hunger in their community. So far, this group has succeeded in adding 2 new Summer Meals sites to Hamden, securing a new mobile food pantry site in Hamden, and collecting 260 community surveys among many other accomplishments.

Check out some more photos from the Summit.
Photos by Johnathon Henninger Photography courtesy of United Way of Greater New Haven.

March Meeting – Raising Funds & Awareness

Witnesses to Hunger met at Wilson Library March 16th at 12:00 p.m. Kim called the meeting order at 12:30 with approximately 28 members present.

Michael presented the Witnesses to Hunger website to the group. Michael requested members send him comments and content to include WTH “elevator pitches”. Do requested we add a page with links to community resources.

Jason requested members volunteer to attend the Hamden Hunger Summit at the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum located at 3011 Whitney Ave, Hamden on April 25, 2019 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. Jason thinks would like members to participate in group discussions and use the opportunity to attract members to Witnesses to Hunger. Wanda announced the Witnesses to Hunger Photo Project will be on display at the State Capitol on May 1 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Wanda would like to Witness members to submit a photo and a statement on food insecurity by April 10. Kim let members know the photos don’t have to be of yourself, they can be a picture of your refrigerator or your grocery United Way will get the photos ,mounted on 20″x 20 ” foam board with the statement. United Way will provide funds for transportation for members that want to attend. Contact Jason, Wanda, or Susan for more
information.

Yale Program of Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) located at 319 Peck Street, will be hosting the IRCC Conference from May 13 to 16. PRCH has invited member of Witnesses to Hunger to participate and speak on Photo Project. Specific program information will be provided as it becomes available. Claudette asked if anybody has compared the price of groceries at the beginning of the SNAP cycle and
later om the month. Kim suggested Claudette, or any member, could take pictures of grocery receipts and compare them for the photo project.

Kim announced we did not get the Ben & Gerry’s Grant . Kim informed the group that Maria Markham, formally from the CT Food Bank, is willing to help us with a fundraising event. Kim will send out an email to the fundraising committee when she has a date to meet with Maria. Kim asked members with fundraising ideas to join the fundraising committee. Kim wants to send letters to Senators Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal and Representative Rosa DeLauro stating that WTH is active and available to assist their offices. Members are encouraged to write letters and we will send the best letters. Jim had suggested coming up with a form letter and posting on our site so WTH can send individual letters as well. Additionally, Austin will invite Rosa DeLauro to attend one of our meetings. Someone suggested contacting Joe Rodrigues to invite
Blumenthal to a WTH meeting. In response to WTH activism, Austin received a letter from Chris Murphy stating some of the threats to food security. The letter is a good guide to policy on the Federal level WTH should be aware of. Austin also informed the group of possible State policy changes to include taxes on groceries and sugary
drinks. Do pointed out that the group should discuss WTH’s stance on the sugar policy so we can advocate for or against the tax.

Food Related issues from Governor’s Bill No. 877
(b) On and after July 1, 2020, there is imposed a tax on the sale of any sweetened beverage sold by a retailer to a consumer within the state at the rate of one and one-half cent per ounce of such beverage. Witnesses To Hunger Monthly Meeting
Sunday, March 17, 2019 12:00 PM retailer to a consumer within the state at the rate of one and one-half cent per ounce of such beverage. Such tax shall be in addition to any other tax applicable to such sale and shall be included, for purposes of chapter 219 of the general statutes, in the calculation of gross receipts. Each retailer shall collect
from the consumer the full amount of the tax imposed by this subsection. Sec. 59. (Effective from passage) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in consultation with the Commissioners of Public Health and Revenue Services, shall conduct a study to define “junk food” and examine the administrative feasibility of imposing a tax on such junk food. Not later than January 1, 2020, the secretary shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, of the results of such study to the joint standing committees of the General
Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health and finance and revenue.
(b) Each store shall charge a fee of ten cents for each single-use checkout bag provided to a customer at the point of sale. The store shall indicate the number of single-use checkout bags provided and the total amount of the fee charged on any transaction receipt provided to a customer. Any fees collected pursuant to this subsection shall be excluded from gross receipts under chapter 219 of the general
statutes.

ConnCat will be hosting a free luncheon on March 23 at 4 Science Park from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm . See their Facebook page ConnCat, for more information.

CT Food Bank will be hosting a mobile food pantry Saturday March 30 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. At Project Access, Long Warf Medical Center, 150 Sargent Drive.

Next meeting April 27th , which is the 4th Saturday.

February Meeting – Legislative Action

Witnesses to Hunger met at Wilson Library on February 25th at 12:00 p.m. for our monthly meeting . We started the meeting off recognizing that we are 1 year old! Many of the members at the first meeting are still participating and we have many new members. This months meeting had over 50 members present.

We formally approved our Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Values. They are posted on the Who we are page.

The focus of the meeting was reviewing current bills up for consideration at the State Legislative that have the potential to positively or negatively impact the lives of members . Witnesses to Hunger will track these bills and advocate for thier passage.

  • AN ACT CONCERNING SEMI-MONTHLY TRANSFERS OF SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION BENEFITS
  • AN ACT CONCERNING PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
  • AN ACT REQUIRING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STATE-WIDE FOOD ACTION PLAN
  • AN ACT LIMITING RENT INCREASES IN CERTAIN MULTIFAMILY DWELLINGS

Visit Legislative Watch for updates!