“Their doors would close.”
This is what Susan Cox said would happen to hundreds of food assistance programs if TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) decreased.
Cox should know: not only does she serve on the Second Harvest Food Bank Board of Directors and as the Chair of the Second Harvest Agency Advisory Council, but she sees the important impact of TEFAP everyday in her own program, One Step Further in Guilford County.
The food provided to Second Harvest Food Bank and One Step Further through the TEFAP program is nutritious and staple: “Instead of being filled with empty calories, the people we serve get nutritious food. They don’t always know when they are next going to eat: without us, they may not.”
Donna Mashburn, Executive Director of Pastor’s Pantry in Davidson County, echoes this: “TEFAP plays a big role in our work. The outcomes in the physical and mental states of the people we serve are clear when we can offer this nutritious food.”
Second Harvest and our 18 county partner network strongly oppose any efforts to cut TEFAP through the federal budget process. The FY2018 Appropriations should support strong funding for TEFAP, including providing full funding for TEFAP food purchases at $329 million a year, and $100 million for TEFAP storage and distribution funds to support the infrastructure and distribution capacity necessary to meet the need.
In Davidson County, where Pastor’s Pantry is located, 37% of residents coming to Second Harvest partner programs for food assistance are diabetic. TEFAP assures that Second Harvest partner programs will have brown rice on their shelves instead of only white rice, sodium free canned vegetables instead of ones high in salt, fruits in their own juices instead of in heavy syrup… and the list goes on. “This is the difference between food from TEFAP and food from solely food drives,” says Cox.
Clyde Fitzgerald, CEO of Second Harvest, says that for these reasons public-private partnerships addressing food insecurity are vital. He stressed the importance of not only TEFAP to our work, but also of SNAP.
SNAP is efficient and effective. SNAP reduces food insecurity and helps working families put food on the table. Proposals to block grant SNAP, cap or cut funding or otherwise restrict participation would result in millions more Americans losing food assistance. Both SNAP and TEFAP complement the work that Second Harvest and our over 450 on-the-ground partners, like One Step Further and Pastor’s Pantry, are doing.
We appreciate Congressman Budd for visiting, listening and speaking with us, and we hope that he will reflect on what we shared with him as he moves forward with his work in Washington.