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Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Current Issues

Farm Bill

Food banks and hunger programs throughout the country rely on federal nutrition programs to help feed hungry Americans. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is particularly important as the source of nearly 25% of the food moving through the national network of food banks. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is the foundation of the nutrition safety net, delivering monthly benefits to participants through electronic benefit cards that can be used to purchase groceries at stores nationwide. The benefits are targeted at our most vulnerable neighbors. Seventy-six percent of SNAP households include a child, elderly person or disabled person, and these households receive 84% of all SNAP benefits.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a program that provides nutritious monthly food packages to low-income participants, nearly 97 percent of whom are seniors living at or below 130 percent of poverty ($14,157 for a senior living alone.)  The Greater Cleveland Food Bank distributes 580 of these boxes each month, helping to combat the poor health conditions often found in food insecure seniors.

After a long and contentious process, Congress passed the Farm Bill the first week of February. The bill includes an additional $205 million investment in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which provides nutritious food to food banks and other emergency food providers, as well as a new dairy donation program that will benefit low-income families when dairy prices fall below a certain threshold.  The additional TEFAP funds will help us meet increased demand and provide our agencies with some of the best food they get from the Food Bank at no cost to them. 

The bill also includes an $8.6 billion cut to SNAP, by cutting a program in 16 states (Ohio does not have the program) that will cause an estimated 850,000 low-income households to lose an average $90 in monthly benefits. The additional TEFAP dollars will not make up for this cut.

We are greatly relieved that the bill contains none of the harsh provisions that were contained in the House version that would have cut nearly $40 billion from the program and thrown 3.8 million people off SNAP in 2014, in an economic recovery that continues to elude Northeast Ohio. 

Senator Brown and Congresswoman Fudge fought tirelessly on this issue for the last several years as members of their respective Ag committees.  But, perhaps the most key roles that they played were in the conference committee where they both served. In this committee, a compromise bill was worked out that gave the House and Senate that avoided the onerous program changes and cuts to SNAP from the House version . We owe them both a debt of gratitude.

Please take a minute to thank Senator Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (if you are in her district) for their hard work as members of both the Agriculture Committees and the conference committee which negotiated the final bill. 

Senator Brown 
Phone 202-224-2315, or use his online form: 
http://www.brown.senate.gov/contact

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge
Phone 202-225-7032, or
https://fudgeforms.house.gov/contact-form