Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Over the last year, the Second Harvest Food Bank network has seen more families coming to us for help to put food on the table - fresh vegetables, milk, meat, and other staples. Families like Sarah's....and so many others...are still trying to get back on their feet.
To help our regional food bank and others across the nation meet the current heightened need for food assistance, Congress must provide additional funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) food purchases, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must quickly make these purchases.
The food we receive through the TEFAP program is expected to decline by 30 to 40 percent in the next year. At the same time, due to the pandemic and the economic downturn, we still expect to see a heightened need for food assistance in communities across the 18 counties served by our Second Harvest Food Bank network. Without more support in food from USDA, food banks like ours and others across the nation will struggle to make up for reductions in this critical source of nutritious food items.
USDA has programs and funding to increase the food they provide to food banks which they should use to help mitigate the problem. With recent congressional action, they can ensure that the steep drop in food doesn’t come at the same time as one of the worst economic downturns in our country’s history.
USDA makes food purchases to support U.S. growers and producers, and the purchased food is distributed through TEFAP and other USDA Food Distribution programs each year. The purchases provide a win-win for food banks, farmers, and our neighbors in need.