As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Bread for the World is highlighting the advocacy work of Latinos. This is a conversation with Anna M. Chavez, the network coordinator at Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger in Florida. She is also a social work student at Saint Leo University in Florida.
Q. Describe your work with Bread for the World?
A. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity and blessing to work as a volunteer advocate for Bread. Leading and being a part of legislative meetings in order to urge our elected officials has been a transformative experience. In August 2020, I had the opportunity to meet with my local representative and urge an increase in SNAP benefits, expansion of P-EBT, and an increase in economic support for a global response to COVID. My values are directly aligned with Bread’s strong commitment to mobilizing communities, advocating for policy changes, and working collectively to assure hunger is addressed. My work with Bread has allowed me to learn from its exemplary leaders, connect with other Bread members statewide and understand the issue of hunger at a profound level.
Q. Why is advocacy important to you?
A. Advocacy allows me to stand up for the most vulnerable, the least helped and the most forgotten of society. Through advocacy I am given the opportunity to represent individuals and communities that are awaiting representation, change, and action. I believe advocating for communities experiencing hunger is empowering them, and empowerment is restoration of dignity. My Christian values drive me to advocate for issues such as hunger, which affect the most disadvantaged communities. Jesus was an advocate for the most forgotten individuals of society, and as Christians we are called to follow his example, therefore advocacy is essential to my life as a Christian.
Q. Explain your work around mobilizing individuals, churches, and with other networks?
A. I assist with mobilization of individuals in BFW [Bread for the World] when assisting with legislative meetings and helping with the preparation of these meetings. In addition to this, I help mobilize networks and encourage collaborations with agencies involved with food insecurity within the Tampa Bay area through the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, Bread for the World will also be sending out special prayers written by Latinos as part of our bi-weekly Prayers to End Hunger series. The prayers are focused on thanksgiving for the leadership and unyielding spirit of Latinos in our communities.
Go here to subscribe to Prayers to End Hunger. And be on the lookout for information about an upcoming Instagram Live interview with Anna.