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A Journey From Client to Advocate

Growing the Next Generation of Advocates

GBFB Team Members joined the thousands of hunger-relief advocates who traveled to Washington D.C., this February to hold federal officials accountable for the unacceptable level of food insecurity in our nation.

Feeding America and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) convene these advocates from across the country for the annual National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.

FRAC Conference

This year, Feeding America provided financial scholarships for people who have lived experience with food insecurity, so they could attend the conference and become strong advocates in the fight against hunger.

One of these individuals was our friend Carla, a college student who depended on GBFB’s free produce Mobile Market at Northern Essex Community College when she was a student there just a couple of years ago.

Hunger-relief advocates

As a college student, I took on this opportunity and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. In February 2019, I was able to attend The National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. Being in this room surrounded by experts from all around the country, [I asked myself] what could I expect, learn, and do with this information? Of the various informational sessions, I attended sessions on ‘Hidden Hunger: Implications for LGBTQ Communities,’ ‘Hunger is a Health Issue — Equipping the Anti-Hunger Community for Success,’ and more.”

“It was very interesting and such a special opportunity to be able to discuss, with people of many different professions, what we all can do to affect an issue as great as hunger in the United States; what groups and communities are being affected; what changes we need to make to educate and empower others as well. After this experience, I have taken it upon myself to educate people about hunger and homelessness in higher education. I have personally met other college students who have experienced these issues firsthand and feel ashamed of it. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am now aware of supporting current and future leaders who understand these issues and have the power to make a difference.”

Carla shared her story at GBFB’s annual Women Fighting Hunger breakfast last year. Watch her bring the entire crowd to their feet in this short video.

Carla, now 21 years old, attends UMass Lowell and will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business. She hopes to attend graduate school and continue her advocacy on behalf of students experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

No matter what she chooses to do, one thing is definite: Carla will help end hunger here.

Learn how you can help make a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts >

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