Born and raised in New Jersey, Riley Link graduated from Rutgers University – New Brunswick with a major in public health and minors in economics and Spanish. Riley’s interest in food justice grew through an internship with WhyHunger, continued through research with MCFOODS, and culminated with a 3,500-mile cross country cycling trip to fundraise for Elijah’s Promise and to raise awareness about food insecurity. While at Rutgers, Riley established a daily enrichment program for 50 elementary school students with the service of university volunteers and the nonprofit Youth Empowerment Services. Riley is interested in how advocacy improves public policy and interned with the New Jersey Office of Federal Affairs and the New Jersey Department of State.
Field placement: Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
Riley worked with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, an organization that raises awareness about hunger, connects people to nutrition programs, and advocates for systemic changes. Riley focused on the expansion of school meal access, especially Breakfast After the Bell, by contributing to the rule-making process and providing technical support for the Hunger-Free Schools provisions of the Oregon Student Success Act. Using an equity and community engagement lens, she interviewed school administrative and nutrition services staff to identify areas of need, conducted data analysis and developed tools to support effective implementation
Policy placement: Feeding America
Riley worked with the policy staff on the Government Relations team to support Feeding America's response to the Covid-19 crisis. Riley tracked legislative and regulatory policy changes to federal nutrition programs, including SNAP, SFSP, CACFP, and TEFAP. She prepared guides, webinars and resources to share policy options for administering federal nutrition programs with food banks. She also worked with the Equity & Programs team on building collaborative processes for SNAP and Child and Family programs.