A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

Community Advocacy: Fight Hunger in Your Community

Last Revised: Mar 04, 2011 - Initial Posting: Feb 25, 2005

The Capital Area Food Bank carries out Community Advocacy activities, including the Face Hunger™ workshop, to increase awareness and understanding of hunger and its many causes.


The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) promotes taking action through Act Locally: Fight Hunger in Your Community to broaden awareness of hunger and poverty issues.  The role of this department is:

  • To enhance the capabilities of CAFB’s more than 700 member agencies to broaden the scope of services they provide
  • To develop and implement programs and training opportunities designed to empower the community
  • To increase the visibility of CAFB as an effective facilitator and resource for local policy and legislative leaders
  • To collect, analyze, and report on hunger and poverty issues at the local level.

Activities include testifying at public hearings and working with local government on specific initiatives.  CAFB also participates in several coalitions that address issues relevant to hunger such as fair budget concerns, housing, human needs, and employment.

Some examples of CAFB’s advocacy initiatives include:

  • Conducting Face Hunger™ Workshops to increase community awareness and understanding of hunger and poverty
  • Enrollment of all eligible children in federally funded school food programs
  • Replacing junk food and sodas with healthier snacks and fruit juices in school vending machines.
  • Food Stamp Outreach that uses trained volunteers to assist persons interested in applying for Food Stamps to help them understand the process they are about to enter, the benefits the program provides, eligibility guidelines, and requirements.  The volunteers also assist persons in completing Food Stamp applications, identifying supporting documentation, and getting their applications submitted to the correct office.
  • Expanded participation in the USDA Summer Food Service Program
  • Annual Hunger Conference and Annual Hunger Summit


CAFB created the Face Hunger™ role-play and discussion workshop to increase awareness and understanding of hunger and its many causes.  The workshop is interactive and can be used with a wide variety of audiences – business, civic, political, faith-based, middle and high school, university, and social service.

Each participant receives a profile with information about the identity, income, and resources available to a person at risk of hunger.  The identities vary and may include being a single parent dependent on the government for financial support, a victim of job loss or natural disaster, or living on a fixed income.

In the workshop, participants “become” persons suffering from hunger and facing the challenge of providing meals for their family.  These challenges include budgeting money and using the limited resources available to people in need of emergency food.  Participants deal with government agencies, private charities, and community businesses and services at the same time, they confront issues such as racism, crime and illiteracy.  This enables participants to walk in the shoes of a person in need, by experiencing real-life situations.
Each role-play is followed by a discussion that allows participants to talk about the feelings that they experienced and the issues relevant to the problems they faced during the activity.  They consider short- and long-term strategies to help alleviate hunger and poverty.

The Face Hunger™ role-play and discussion take approximately 90 minutes and includes an introduction to CAFB programs.  The activity is appropriate for groups of between 8-10 persons up to a maximum of 30 persons, ages 12 and older.  Face Hunger™ can be tailored in length and scope to meet the needs of specific groups.

Contact CAFB for all materials necessary for Face Hunger™.  Training is available for individuals who wish to lead Face Hunger™ workshops in their own community or organization.  Face Hunger™ can be coordinated with other awareness/volunteer activities.

Face Hunger™ raises awareness.  Social service providers, legislators, students, employees, and members of faith-based communities will gain insights from Face Hunger™ and be provided with the necessary tools to better carry out efforts to alleviate hunger.


CAFB's advocacy efforts helped promote establishment of the DC Blue Ribbon Task Force for review of child care nutrition programs.  Reinstatement of the Mayor's Commission on Nutrition and Health was an outgrowth of the Task Force.

As of April 2009, vending machines available to students largely comply with the Healthy Vending Policy (about 95 percent of items).  Products such as sodas and sports drinks have been eliminated.  Items offered include baked chips, pretzels, low-fat ginger snaps, and 100 Calorie Packs of thin crisp cookies and crackers.

Nearly 150 Face Hunger™ workshop sessions involving over 4,200 participants were conducted between September 2003 - December 2004.  Another 33 sessions involving approximately 1,500 participants had been conducted or were pending between January - March 2005.

The Face Hunger™ workshops are instrumental in building increased volunteer involvement and support for CAFB.  Participants become motivated to serve as volunteers, while groups involved often conduct specialized food drives in lieu of paying the fee for having a Face Hunger™ workshop.  Items collected through these food drives go directly to CAFB Kids Cafe and Operation Frontline.


Brian Banks, Director of Advocacy & Community Outreach