Brown, Boxer, Casey Introduce Food Bank Funding Amendment to Senate Budget Bill

Food Banks Forced To Ration & Turn Hungry Families Away Due To Supply Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced an amendment to the Senate budget bill to devote additional funding for food banks. The amendment would provide $40 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which is the most immediate federal solution to the national food bank crisis. An increase in demand coupled with a decrease in donations has left food banks with long lines and empty shelves.  

“We are the wealthiest nation in the world, but we cannot feed our own people,” said Brown, the first Senator from Ohio in 40 years to serve on the Agriculture and Nutrition Committee. “Food banks across Ohio and the country are running out of food. This is an emergency and an outrage.” 

Boxer said, “Millions of Americans, including nine million children and three million seniors, depend on the availability of food supplies from their local food banks. At a time when our nation’s food banks are operating at an unprecedented shortage and our economy is experiencing a downtown, this measure will provide families with much needed relief.” 

“The cost of food continues to rise and so does family hunger,” said Casey. “America’s food banks are facing critical shortages and families are struggling. This amendment will provide emergency assistance to help local food banks and other emergency food providers meet the rising need.” 

Food banks are funded through three avenues: corporate donations of food from wholesalers, producers, and grocery stores that have a surplus; personal donations from the community; and government assistance including farm commodities and TEFAP from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).   

The growing number of Americans who rely on food assistance and a decreasing supply at food banks this winter have caused a food bank crisis. In most years, the government buys surplus food to donate to food banks. However, with commodity prices high this year, the government does not have to buy excess food to support prices. Moreover, grocery stores and other major donors of food are ordering less products, leaving less to donate compared to past years.  

The Brown-Boxer-Casey amendment would provide $40 million in emergency TEFAP funding to address the current food bank crisis until a permanent fix can be passed in the Farm Bill. The Senate Farm Bill increased TEFAP from $140 million annually to $250 million in its version of the Farm Bill.

 

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