Twenty resident and youth leaders from Anaheim, Lemon Grove, Ontario and Riverside, all part of Kaiser Permanente’s HEAL Zones, recently participated in a day of learning, networking and advocacy at ENACT Day in Sacramento. The event brings public health community members and advocates together from all over California to learn about and support state policies that advocate for health equity through nutrition and physical activity. Participants had the opportunity to make legislative visits with senators’ offices and representatives of their districts, including Angeles Nelson, Lemon Grove HEAL’s resident coordinator, who met with staff of California Food Policy Advocates. She presented an affidavit with 50 signatures in support of SB 138, the Count Me In for School Meals bill. “SB 138 is so important to Lemon Grove families because it will allow children who are already enrolled in Calfresh or Medical to receive free or reduced lunch without their parents’ having to fill out the paperwork. Lemon Grove has many undocumented families and due to our current political climate, there is a lot of fear in disclosing their personal information in order to get the services that they need,” said Nelson.
After Nelson’s visit, California Food Policy Advocates have invited Lemon Grove parents to participate in media coverage in support of SB 138. “That whole event showed us how important it is that we advocate for the bills that are important to us.,” she said. “Change starts with advocacy.”