Statement Attributed to Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America
“Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, applauds the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide $1 billion in hunger relief funding through three key channels: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) as well as through partnerships with state agencies to purchase local food for emergency food assistance and to provide food infrastructure grants to local nonprofits. Our network of food banks looks forward to partnering with states and local nonprofit organizations who are interested in distributing nutritious foods provided by the USDA, and in creating new partnerships to strengthen our ability to serve people in need. Feeding America estimates the announcement by USDA will help put at least 750 million additional meals on the tables of the families we serve.
“The Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner food pantries and meal programs faced a national average of 55 percent increase for food assistance for the past year. We project that during 2021, approximately 42 million people—one in eight individuals in America—could experience food insecurity due in part to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. We also know that many people who have been most impacted by the pandemic were food insecure or at risk before the pandemic and are facing greater hardship now. The temporary increases in federal nutrition programs provided by the American Rescue Plan Act have helped address some of the increased demand food banks are seeing; however, emergency food assistance and USDA foods are critical for the people served by food banks that need additional assistance or are not eligible for federal nutrition programs.
“Last year, USDA foods provided 2.4 billion meals out of the 6.1 billion meals provided by the Feeding America network to people in need, 39% of all food distributed by food banks. USDA foods provided to food banks are expected to decline 30-40% in 2021 as temporary food purchase programs end. USDA foods and TEFAP are a cornerstone of the charitable food system, taking food from US producers and farmers and putting it on the table of families facing hunger. Today’s purchases provide a much-needed increase in food assistance for people facing hunger and build upon local partnerships established between food banks and growers who have worked together for years to connect excess crops with families in need.
“Feeding America is grateful for the continued partnership between the USDA, farmers, and agriculture partners to provide healthy, nutritious U.S. grown commodities to community members in need. We also look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure continued investments in TEFAP and other federal nutrition programs to serve families facing hunger.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.