Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, applauds today’s announcement by the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they will provide nearly $1.5 billion in additional funding for emergency food assistance. This investment is urgently needed and will go a long way toward alleviating supply shortages within the charitable food system.
“While we strive to meet the food needs of every community, we recognize there are still tens of millions of people who face hunger. The fact is we did not provide all the food people needed last year and even the year before. Due to rising food prices, unprecedented supply chain challenges and greater demand, food banks were forced to provide 1.4 billion fewer meals to people facing hunger,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
Babineaux-Fontenot continued, “We are deeply grateful to the Biden administration and the USDA for making this significant investment toward food security for millions of people facing hunger. These food purchases will help ensure the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and 60,000 faith-based and charitable partner food pantries and meal programs can be there for neighbors in need. This is a powerful step in the fight against hunger. We need more bold action like this to ensure the tens of millions of neighbors, co-workers, classmates and friends facing hunger get the food and resources they need to thrive. We are asking state and local officials, individuals and businesses, and Congress to join us and help end hunger.”
Food banks, pantries and other charitable food assistance programs have been providing a record response during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting 60 million individuals in 2020 and 53 million in 2021. This level of aid would not have been possible without USDA food purchases boosted by COVID recovery funding provided by Congress. In 2020, USDA foods made up 38% of all food distributed by the Feeding America network, translating to over 2.4 billion meals for community members in need.
Today, the demand for emergency food assistance remains well above pre-pandemic levels. But in 2022, food banks have struggled with a food supply crisis, sometimes resulting in empty shelves and coolers. This nearly $1.5 billion in funding for USDA food purchases will help address the perfect storm of supply chain disruptions, decreased food donations, increased food purchase and transportation costs, and continued higher demand that food banks are facing.
Feeding America thanks the Biden administration and the USDA for their continued commitment to hunger relief. Today’s announcement builds on decades of USDA actions to support U.S. farmers, growers and producers through food purchases that are then provided to people facing hunger. The Feeding America network stands ready to work with states and other local partners to move these new foods from farms to food banks to families in need.
Feeding America urges state officials to identify other sources of funding, including unallocated federal funds, that they can immediately use to provide further emergency food assistance during this time of continued elevated need.
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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 6.6 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.