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Policy Library

Build a Healthier State With the Statewide Anti-Hunger Act

Across the United States, 13% of Americans and 18% of children are hungry. Hunger has severe health and education impacts. Children in food insecure homes have higher rates of chronic illness, and are 30% more likely to be hospitalized and 30% less likely to meet standards in reading and math. Increased use of existing federal programs to fight hunger brings federal funds into states to generate significant economic activity, and better coordination of programs helps make sure no one, especially kids, falls through the cracks. The Statewide Anti-Hunger Act ensures states effectively use all the tools available to fight hunger, and reap the health and educational benefits that will follow.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia

Introduced in:

Maryland (12)
Even if a state has enacted a policy, there may be aspects to be strengthened. We can help identify ways to improve lives in your state. Please reach out to our State Line: 1-833-STATES-1.

In The News

“Hicks believes most people in the city would be surprised by the people who count on the agency’s trucks to show up. They include families in which one or both parents are employed, single parents with children and others all trying to make ends meet without having to choose between food and rent or the electric bill…. ‘It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Hunger has no face. No age. No skin color. No nationality.”
“Hunger spurred by a lack of nutritious food can thrust a person into poverty — or, if they’re already there, make a bad situation much worse. And that can have a myriad of cascading consequences: Numerous studies have shown that when children go hungry, their test scores are bad. Likewise, when adults go hungry, their work performance suffers, which could result in an increase in sick day utilization or even a job loss.”


  • Anti-hunger advocates
  • Schools
  • Farmers and agriculture groups


None noted
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Who does this help?
When food is secure, the benefits are widespread -- students have higher attendance rates and improved learning, parents do better and stay longer in their jobs. The better health and education outcomes benefit the entire state.
How does this address hunger in my state?
By coordinating existing federal resources, state and local programs, and businesses and nonprofits working to address hunger, this policy creates a more effective and efficient effort to ensure that every resident has access to food.
Is this costly to the state?
No. Any increased cost will be borne by existing federal programs that are underutilized. Over time it will create healthcare and education savings.

Model Policy

This act shall be known as the Statewide Anti-Hunger Act.

To bring together public agencies, private entities and nonprofit organizations to effectively maximize federal resources and coordinate efforts to fight hunger.


(a) It is the goal of STATE to reduce hunger and food insecurity among its residents.

(b) Accordingly, the COMMISSIONER shall establish and promote an anti-hunger task force to achieve the stated goal in subsection (a).

(c) The task force shall be composed of no more than 23 voting members, including the following:
  • (i) Two members of the STATE House of Representatives, one appointed by the Speaker of the House and one appointed by the House Minority Leader;
  • (ii) Two members of the STATE Senate, one appointed by the Senate President and one appointed by the Senate Minority Leader;
  • (iii) One representative of the office of the Governor, appointed by the Governor;
  • (iv) One representative of the office of the Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; and
  • (v) 15 members of the public, appointed by the Governor, including:
  • (1) Two representatives of food banks;
  • (2) Two representatives of other community-based food assistance programs;
  • (3) One representative of an anti-poverty organization;
  • (4) One representative of an anti-hunger advocacy program;
  • (5) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for children and youth;
  • (6) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for older adults;
  • (7) One representative of an organization that serves and/or advocates for people who are homeless;
  • (8) One representative of an organization that serves or advocates for persons with disabilities;
  • (9) One representative of an organization that advocates for immigrants;
  • (10) One representative of a municipal or county government;
  • (11) One expert in the fields of hunger and nutrition;
  • (12) One representative of an organization or company in the agricultural industry; and
  • (13) Three at-large members.

(d) The following officials shall serve as ex-officio members of the task force:
  • (i) The Director or Secretary of Human Services;
  • (ii) The Director or Secretary of Agriculture;
  • (iii) The Director or Secretary of the Department of Aging;
  • (iv) The Director or Secretary of Education;
  • (v) The Director or Secretary of Health; and
  • (vi) The Director or Secretary of Economic Development;

(e) The appointed members shall reflect the racial, gender, and geographic diversity of STATE and shall include representation from all regions of STATE.

(f) The representative of the Office of the Governor and a representative of a food bank, as outlined in subsection (d) shall serve as co-chairs of the task force.

(g) Members of the task force shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with state per diem rules.

(h) The goals of the task force shall include, but are not limited to:
  • (i) Maximizing resources to fight hunger by increasing participation in federally funded anti-hunger programs including, but not limited to, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school breakfast, and school lunch programs;
  • (ii) Establishing and strengthening public-private partnerships to increase outreach to those facing hunger and coordinate effective measures from government, researchers, businesses, and the nonprofit sector;
  • (iii) Improving access to quality, healthy food through the use of STATE farm products and locally produced goods to combat hunger while creating jobs and supporting economic development;
  • (iv) Working with regional and statewide stakeholders to identify communities that lack access to healthy food, determine current barriers to food access, and share this information publicly to encourage best practices and build local food alliances;
  • (v) Coordinating with federal, state, and local agencies to promote and increase awareness of programs that promote greater food access; and
  • (vi) Identifying distribution barriers that affect food access, including, but not limited to, shortage of food retail outlets, limited store capacity, high distribution costs, and lack of capital funding opportunities.

(j) Not later than 12 months from the date of the first task force meeting, and annually thereafter, the task force shall produce a report highlighting:
  • (i) the state of food insecurity in STATE; and
  • (ii) recommended solutions and steps that could be taken in STATE to advance the goals described in (h).
  • (1) Where feasible, the task force shall execute, oversee and coordinate those steps and solutions.
  • (2) Where its recommendations would require state legislation or other action outside the capacity of the task force, the report shall summarize its recommendations and make recommendations on how those recommendations could be implemented.

(k) The task force shall distribute the reports stated in (j) on the

(l) The task force shall be subject to renewal at the option of the Commissioner five (5) years from the date of its formation.