In light of many changes that could threaten programs that aide struggling and hungry men, women and children, I thought it timely to share some insight with you about the faces of hunger and the importance of supporting our many hungry neighbors.

Did you know that 80 percent of all SNAP benefits (aka food stamps assistance) goes to households with children? The average benefit is only $4/person each day.

There is power and passion in numbers and more than one way to ‘fill’ a plate!

During the last month, I attended the 2017 National Sunshine Summit to End Hunger as well as a legislative visit with Sen. Bill Nelson’s office with Bread for the World, The Hunger Alliance, the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger and hunger advocates from Orlando and Tampa.

“Never doubt that a thoughtful and committed group of citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!” said Margaret Meade.

You can truly envision a hunger free community, when you are surrounded by passionate advocates, researchers, policy makers and concerned citizens, as well as those we serve. After participating in a similar exercise at the Sunshine Summit, we asked our guests and volunteers at Trinity Cafe to consider writing a message on a paper plate sharing:

· “What does hunger mean to you?”

· “What does the SNAP benefit mean to you?”

Our guests and volunteers were passionate in their responses!

I talked to a mom, Joy, who was dining with us at our Nebraska Ave location with two pre-school aged children. She shared that as a single mother, food and the SNAP program were very important to her family’s survival because she has babies to feed!

Abigail shared the plate below:

At our second location on Busch Blvd., we had Alexander, age 5 (pictured above), and Peaches, age 3, step up and want to make plates of their own!

These are just a few examples of the faces of hunger impacted by federal programs like SNAP, WIC and more, as well as local philanthropic efforts like Trinity Cafe.

We delivered more than 100 paper plates with our guests’ and volunteers’ messages to Sen. Bill Nelson’s office with an appeal that he remember the faces of hunger and those we serve and ensure that federal programs like SNAP as well as local efforts like Trinity Cafe continue and ensure a safety net for men, women and children in need.

Remember the faces of hunger and the plates and bellies you help to fill
with your support of Trinity Cafe!

Mandy Cloninger serves as Executive Director of Trinity Cafe.