Advocacy in the Community: Hunger Action Day

What is Advocacy? It is the public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. At Helping Hands, we have added Advocacy as one of our Action Plan goals because we know our donors and participants need their voices to be heard. In the case of our participants, they know the struggle and can share their stories. They are hard at work and school, trying to make it through the day. We are honored to share their stories with them. Recently Helping Hands staff were in Olympia for Hunger Action Day with over 150 individuals from all over the state working in all types of hunger programs. 

Left to right: Kaaren Flint, Rebecca Skrinde, Miranda Wilson, Lisa Niegowski
Helping Hands CEO Rebecca Skrinde with Secretary of State of Washington Steve Hobbs

This was my second time going to the State Capital. The energy in the room with all of our peers and friends we haven’t seen since before COVID was electric. We were ready to share stories from children, families, and a nurse with our elected officials regarding the Healthy Free School Meals for All bill. We were armed with orange folders to pass on to our representatives to share the need and answer questions about what hunger looks like in Skagit County. 

Food inventory for WA's 3 largest food banks is 75-80% lower than this time last year.
Photo Credit: Northwest Harvest

A recent story came out that said the largest Washington State food banks (Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest, and Second Harvest) are down over 80% of the food that they had last year and $93 million a month of SNAP funding in the State of Washington is ending. These SNAP benefits were emergency funds during COVID. The lack of food availability, coupled with the reduction of SNAP funds, put an immense amount of pressure on the Skagit County food banks. 

“I have never seen it like this in my 30 years working at the Concrete Food Bank,” said Adriene.

I have been working at Helping Hands for 8 years now, and we have had to overcome much, but this one feels like an enormous challenge that will take the whole village to conquer. Almost every time I talk to donors and community members, I remind them we are considered a charity and not a government-supported organization. In 2022, only 6% of our budget was from the government. 

How can you advocate for your local food bank? Below you will find links to the bills that can help fight hunger, as well as a link to where you can find your legislators. Reach out and ask for their support in feeding your community. Share your story with them. They NEED your stories and comments to help paint a picture of a unified Skagit County. This is a long session and a bi-annual budget, and this is a critical time. They are going to have to be selective about where the money goes, so fight for your community to be fully fed. If you have any questions, please email me at, and if you want to be on our Advocacy Team, please volunteer.

My commitment to you is we will continue to share stories and use our voices until everyone is fully fed. 

Rebecca Skrinde
Chief Executive Officer
Helping Hands Food Bank

Find Your Legislators
Healthy Free School Meals for All (HB 1238 / SB 5339)
HB 1784: Concerning Hunger Relief