Influential Figures Fighting Hunger

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick donating his time at a local food bank.

During the cold Winter season, food insecurity becomes an issue for those who have difficulty providing for themselves.

Alongside the food banks and food drives that work yearlong to feed those in need, there are a number of public figures that are contributing to the efforts against hunger.

Not only do these well-known individuals draw attention to your cause during a very noisy time of year, but their projects can provide inspiration for engaging local figures in your own community.

Political Action

In his State of the State for 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his concern for families going hungry in New York. In this address, Gov. Cuomo informed the public that “Statewide, 1 in 6 children live in homes without enough food on the table”, a startling and unfortunate fact that needs to be changed. Senator Kristen Gillibrand added to these concerns by stating,” The hunger crisis that exists for children, seniors and veterans throughout our communities is alarming. . . this is not a short-term problem and it is critical that we develop long-term solutions to effectively combat hunger.”

New York’s plan for helping families with their hunger and food insecurities included removing the stigma and barriers of the food stamp program, improving food access in food deserts, and reducing the income tax burden on low income families.

Major changes take time in order to show results. Recently, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger took a step in the right direction by releasing a new guide to provide those who are food insecure information about how and where to access the federal food stamp program in their neighborhood.

Chances are, hunger is affecting your community during these winter months, and gaining political support can help bring to light your cause to a larger audience. Starting a letter writing campaign, scheduling an appointment with the mayor, or speaking at a town hall meeting can all be effective ways of informing your government about how hunger is affecting your community.

Celebrities Making a Difference

From movie stars to musicians, many of Hollywood’s elite are coming forth to show their support in the effort to end hunger. Jeff Bridges and George Clooney created foundations that aim to put local and global hunger in the public view.

Musician John Bon Jovi’s founded his restaurant JBJ Soul Foundation on good intentions. There are no prices to any of the food, so patrons either donate money or volunteer for an hour, earning them a food voucher.

The mass appeal of celebrity figures can attract volunteers to your nonprofit.  It’s highly likely that there is a celebrity who would like to align with your nonprofit to support your cause. Although a request like this can take planning and time, having a celebrity as a representative of your organization can bring great publicity and volunteers to your nonprofit.

Athletes in the Community

The city of Oakland, California has traditionally had a Thanksgiving dinner for those who are unable to hold one of their own. This year, Oakland was lacking the funds to hold this event, but Golden State Warrior forward David Lee donated $25,000 to help continue the city-wide tradition.

His contribution helped provide 2,000 meals for low-income families, seniors, and the homeless. Lee, when speaking about his reasoning behind the donation, said, “I have always been lucky enough to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. . . and to allow other people to have that same joy is something that is really special.”

In addition to David Lee’s act of kindness, the Warriors organization is participating in a “15 Plays for the Holidays” program, where the players and personnel of the Golden State Warriors participate in community outreach initiatives throughout the Bay Area. It’s great to see the reciprocation of The Golden State Warriors, supporting the community that has supported them.

Athletes, both professional and amateur, tend to foster the support of their community when they participate in local activities. As a nonprofit, you should think about contacting a team, be it the Golden State Warriors or your local high school, and ask them to volunteer their time for civic service. This can act as a great opportunity for your community to view your nonprofit in action and will entice more people to volunteer for your organization.

Does your organization work with local public figures to spread awareness and action? Tell us about it below!