thank-you-clipart-13582119241366942069thank-you-md2015 had its fair share of challenges, but anti-hunger advocates ended the year with several exciting successes – thanks to the efforts of people like you who spoke out against hunger throughout the year.

Here’s what we accomplished in 2015:

  1. A $1 million increase for the State Food Purchase Program / Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) in the Pennsylvania state budget.
  2. Tax deductions for food donors were made permanent AND expanded to include farmers and small business owners. In this same package, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit – tax credits that help low-income individuals – became permanent, as well.
  3. Increased funding for storage and distribution costs for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities, one of the federal programs that provides our organization with food to distribute.
  4. Increased funding for a pilot program for EBT cards for summer meals for children.
  5. Increased funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (monthly nutritious boxes of food for older adults).
  6. The Vote to End Hunger campaign was launched nationally.
  7. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank was inducted into Feeding America’s Advocacy Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.

And some anticipated successes in the near future…

Child Nutrition Reauthorization is still being worked on in Congress, but it looks as though the Senate plans to include many of our priorities in their version of the bill: streamlining after-school programs and summer food programs into one year-round out-of-school program, allowing for a summer EBT card option in some areas, and allowing for non-congregate feeding in the summer for some areas.

These successes don’t just happen.

It takes the combined efforts of advocates like you throughout southwestern Pennsylvania and across our nation letting our elected officials know that they care about the issue of hunger and want our government to continue to partner with charities and the private sector to end hunger once and for all.

We thank each and every one of you for your anti-hunger advocacy. We would also like to send a special shout out to all of our Hunger Education & Advocacy Team (HEAT) members and our Produce to People Advocacy Leaders (PALs), who have been true leaders in anti-hunger advocacy in our community. We extend special thanks, as well, to the members of the Food Bank’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee for their ongoing support and guidance.

Policy change often takes a lot of time and certainly takes people like you reaching out to their elected officials about issues they care about. The successes of 2015 couldn’t have happened without all of our anti-hunger advocates – our community members, the people we serve, our volunteers and donors, and our staff and board of directors – taking the time to speak out against hunger. We can’t thank you enough for your support, your energy and your persistence in the face of challenges.

We hope each of you will continue to join us in advocating for the Food Bank and the people we serve into 2016 and beyond.  Happy New Year!