About Witnesses to Hunger

Witnesses to Hunger is a research and advocacy project started by Dr. Mariana Chilton, former Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigator, and Founder of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at the Drexel University School of Public Health. Witnesses to Hunger features the photographs of parents who share their experiences of raising children on a limited income. Using digital photography, the Witnesses spark dialogue, engage and inform policymakers, and inspire change.

Children’s HealthWatch partnered with Witnesses to Hunger from 2008-2020.

Click here to read more about the project.

logoChildren’s HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger Collaboration

Together, Witnesses to Hunger and Children’s HealthWatch provided decision makers with up-to-date research and personal stories that sparked dialogue, engaged and informed policies, and inspired change. By collaborating on events, publications, and advocacy meetings, the work of both organizations was enhanced.

Boston Steering Committee

To support the advocacy work that members of Witnesses to Hunger were already engaged in and to support the personal and training needs of the Witnesses, the Boston site of Witnesses to Hunger developed Steering Committees to carry out a shared vision of engaging those who have experienced poverty as full partners to develop policies that work and inform local and state-wide dialogues on poverty. The Steering Committee, which was selected by members of Witnesses to Hunger and was coordinated by Children’s HealthWatch, worked to support/collaborate on the advocacy efforts of Witnesses to Hunger and support the personal and training needs of the Witnesses. Witnesses to Hunger in Boston, Children’s HealthWatch, and the Steering Committee identified three major policy areas to advocate for change:

  1. Improving access to quality, affordable housing,
  2. Expanding access to child care vouchers by reducing cliff effects
  3. Promoting practices and trainings that reduce stigma and improve trauma-informed customer service models within state and local departments that work with low-income communities, specifically the SNAP administration system in the Department of Transitional Assistance.

While the Steering Committee primarily focused on state and local policy changes, the work also furthered federal advocacy efforts to improve the interlocking systems that support families facing economic hardships and ultimately improve food security.  The other member organizations on the Steering Committee were: ABCD, Project Bread, Urban Edge, Homes for Families and Rosie’s Place.