Hamline News

Pipers Fight Hunger by Lobbying at the Capitol

On Thursday, March 14 Hamline students An Gargiola and Emma Kiley, Co-Founders of Feed Your Brain, and Maddie Guyott, student leader of Feed Your Brain, went to the Minnesota state capitol for Hunger Day on the Hill. Rev. Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Director of the Wesley Center also went.

The Hamline group joined over 200 hunger relief advocates from around the state to meet with legislators and ask them to prioritize ending hunger.

Once arriving at the capitol, Gargiola, Kiley and Guyott advocated with elected representatives for Minnesota policies related to hunger relief including Hunger Free Campuses which would create a hunger-free designation to colleges that provide food distribution services, SNAP education, and emergency assistance grants.

Despite the fact that Minnesota four-year institutions did not sign on to the Hunger Free Campuses legislation, Hamline students supported the work of student leaders at community colleges, especially the Vice President of LEAD MN, Oballa Oballa, who is advancing the bill.

“In our meetings with legislators, we voiced our support for this bill and also our hopes that in the future it would be expanded to four-year institutions, both public and private,” said Gargiola.

The Hamline hunger relief advocates overcame the challenge of busy legislators trying to meet committee deadlines and secured face-to-face meetings with Senator John Marty (DFL 66) and Representative Ami Wazlawik (D 38B).

Because Gargiola is also a policy intern with Second Harvest Heartland, a local food shelf, she is working on additional bills pertaining to hunger relief at the legislature this session.

In addition to the Hunger Free Campuses bill, Gargiola lobbied for Farm to Food Shelf, which would reward farmers who donate unharvested crops to food banks and increase grants for buying milk for food shelves; and Breakfast After the Bell, a bill that encourages participation in the Federal School Meal Program, and could provide breakfast to 130,000 children who may not be currently have access to it.

After the day was over Gargiola reflected hopefully on her experience. She said of her time spent lobbying, “It was empowering to share space with so many hunger relief advocates. There were many fantastic networking opportunities.” She continued, “I am grateful for the time the legislature took to put humanity into these bill numbers and I am hopeful that our lawmakers will prioritize hunger relief this session.”


Written by staff 3/18/19