On May 17, 400 people gathered at the Capitol in Sacramento for Hunger Action Day, demanding that our legislators answer just one question:
What’s our (safety) net worth?
Hunger Action Day is the only day when California’s capital is filled with people from grassroots groups fighting for an end to poverty and hunger.
Gov. Jerry Brown proposes drastic cuts to our safety-net programs, trying again to balance the California budget without revenues. And just hours before Hunger Action Day, the newly revised budget was released, including $2 billion in cuts to health and human services.
At a February hearing in Sacramento, mothers and fathers, voices shaking, publicly contemplated the meaning of these cuts for their children — often, their next and only option is homelessness and hunger.
On Hunger Action Day, we stood with them again.
Our advocates were the first in Sacramento to show up and stand against this budget, sharing stories face-to-face with 17 legislators from up and down the state — and on both sides of the aisle. This year, more than 100 people came with the Alameda County Communtiy Food Bank, representing more than a quarter of all who attended.
"I’m here because I want Californians to be able to build themselves a future,” said Celeste Grainger, an advocate from Fremont. “I want legislators to know that Californians matter.”
Our clients, staff, volunteers and advocates surrounded the Capitol at noon to show we won’t stand for these cuts.
Legislators don’t have to either. They now have until June 15 to pass a balanced budget — or lose pay for each day it’s late. After three years and $15 billion in cuts to vital social programs, it is unconscionable to shred the safety net even further.
In November, Californians will consider new revenues that will help shore up our social safety net, put Californians back to work, keep us healthy, and turn our economy around.
The Food Bank fights to protect all parts of the safety net, which so many of our clients rely on. While rent can’t wait, an empty stomach can — for a little while. Cuts to the safety net mean more hunger, and more demand.
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