April 27, 2012

–"Feeding America deeply appreciates the Senate Agriculture Committee's recognition of the urgent need for additional resources for food banks in the bipartisan Farm Bill reported out of committee yesterday. We thank Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts for providing an additional $50 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) on top of the committee mark, providing a total increase of $150 million over ten years. Our food banks have experienced a steep drop off in the flow of USDA commodities in recent years at the same time that need reached unprecedented levels. This boost in nutritious USDA commodities will help our network and other charitable feeding organizations better meet the ongoing high demand for food assistance in their communities.

"We are also grateful to Senators Casey and Brown for authoring an amendment to clarify USDA's authority to make TEFAP purchases in response to the needs of the states and the demands placed on emergency feeding organizations, in addition to market conditions. This positive change recognizes TEFAP's dual role in supporting farmers and food banks and will enable USDA to better respond to the need for emergency food assistance.

"At the same time, Feeding America continues to strongly oppose the cut to SNAP included in the Senate Farm Bill, which would cause an estimated 500,000 low-income households to lose an average $90 in monthly benefits. The impact of this cut will be concentrated in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Our food banks in those states and around the country are already stretched thin and will be unable to make up for the more than $4 billion in lost SNAP benefits.

"With unemployment stuck at over 8% nationally and millions of families scraping by with reduced wages or hours, the need for food assistance has never been greater. Nearly 49 million Americans are struggling to put food on the table, and many families are relying on SNAP to get by. Now is the time to protect and strengthen nutrition assistance, not cut it.

"Feeding America urges Congress to protect and strengthen food assistance programs as the farm bill process moves forward."


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