This week, we held our monthly Anti-Hunger Advocate Meeting. It is a fledgling group of people who have raised their hands to enact change at a systemic level to address the roots causes of hunger.
Group advocacy is a new effort at Missoula Food Bank. Unlike our robust service volunteer program – where people help to pack food, stock shelves, or deliver groceries – volunteerism in advocacy is sometimes challenging to put your hands on. It has been a learning experience to gather people each month and to try to provide a framework that will gel into an anti-hunger force.
And though we have been challenged to find a rhythm; we are so encouraged to be gaining momentum. This month, twelve advocates from vastly different backgrounds dissected a complicated measure in the Child Nutrition Re-authorization House Bill. We spoke in depth about how to engage our community, how to spread the word, how to address nuance and prepare our message in a way that best accomplishes our goals.
In all honesty, the conversation was sometimes forced, even disjointed…
But. A dozen people in Missoula, Montana sat together for an hour to think. To brainstorm. To establish a local strategy to raise our collective voice about an issue that jeopardizes the sustainability of one of our country’s most fundamental pieces of anti-hunger infrastructure. And over the next six weeks we will work together to implement that strategy.
Thank you to our community Advocates who have been patient and have provided invaluable input in the development of this effort. We continue to refine, grow, and improve. We continue to welcome new voices, because together we are stronger. And though these first few steps may be a little unsteady, we are learning. And – slowly but surely- we are working toward change.