Statement Attributed to Vince Hall, Chief Government Relations Officer
“Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization of 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner faith-based and charitable food pantries and meal programs, is disappointed that the omnibus spending bill does not make much-needed additional investments to strengthen The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) — a federal program that provides families in need with fruit, vegetables, meat, and other nutritious foods from U.S. growers and producers. The bill also fails to extend critical child nutrition waivers that provide the needed flexibility to ensure children have safe access to nutritious meals. The absence of support for these investments in federal nutrition programs is a blow to our neighbors facing hunger.
“TEFAP is the cornerstone of the charitable food system. Unfortunately, investment in TEFAP declined by 30 percent in 2021. This is at a time when families are also facing the loss of the expanded Child Tax Credit, rising prices at the grocery store and gas pump, and an ongoing pandemic. The Feeding America food bank network will be asked to continue doing more for our communities with less support from this vital program. Additionally, the legislation reduces the House and Senate-approved funding provided for TEFAP storage and distribution costs, further adding to the financial challenges for food banks to deliver food in our communities amid rising gas and transportation costs. The impact is serious, especially in rural America, where TEFAP is an anti-hunger lifeline.
“In addition, the failure to extend child nutrition waivers beyond June 30 means meals for millions of kids are now at risk — and the Feeding America network of food banks will be left to fill in the gap. Without an extension of the waivers, millions of families, especially Black, Latino, and Native American families who are disproportionately impacted by hunger will have one less reliable resource for food support, and they will turn to food banks that are already facing sustained unprecedented demand.
Food banks are struggling to support our neighbors in need amid elevated grocery prices, supply chain disruptions, and other barriers to accessing food. To support the health, nutrition, and overall well-being of our communities, we ask USDA and Congress to find immediate ways to increase investments in TEFAP and to extend the child nutrition waiver. Millions of families across our nation, particularly their children, need immediate solutions to ensure they do not have to skip meals. A shared commitment is necessary between charities, the private sector, and the government to put us on the path to end hunger."
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.2 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.