Washington, DC- As Pennsylvanians struggle with hunger around the holidays, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) pushed for passage of legislation, the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act (S.1395), which would boost food banks in Northeastern Pennsylvania and across the state. Casey’s bipartisan legislation would expand and make permanent tax incentives for businesses that donate to food banks. Senator Casey was joined by hunger advocates and businesses to make the case for action on policies that aid families and children struggling with hunger.
“This is one, commonsense step we can take to help food banks in Northeastern Pennsylvania and around the country serve those in need,” Senator Casey said. “Food banks play a critical role in ensuring those facing food insecurity, especially children, can get a full meal. Further incentivizing businesses to donate to food banks will help these children and working families throughout the state.
The Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act would permanently extend the same tax incentives to donate food, that are now available to corporations, to all businesses including small businesses, farmers, ranchers and restaurant owners. Congress recently extended this tax incentive through the end of 2013. The Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act would make this provision permanent, and would extend the deduction to farmers who often have large amounts of fresh food to donate.
Feeding America has said that following a 46 percent increase in demand during the recession, food banks are already struggling to meet need in their communities. Almost 15 percent of Pennsylvanians experience food insecurity and over 20 percent of children in Pennsylvania are food insecure (the household experienced a shortage of food). According to Feeding America, 35 percent of food insecure children are likely not eligible for SNAP or other income-based Federal nutrition programs. Despite the need for food assistance, as much as 40 percent of the food that is produced, grown and transported in the United States will never be used as some businesses find it too costly to donate the excess food, amounting to 70 billion pounds of wasted food each year.
The bipartisan bill is supported by many organizations including Feeding America, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufactures Association and the National Restaurant Association.