We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who spoke out against hunger in 2014. The past year has brought with it a few challenges, but also several successes in the fight against hunger – none of which would have been possible with you. Let’s keep the momentum going into 2015 and make this the best year yet for fighting hunger in southwest PA. Happy New Year!
Here’s how you helped:
1. Paper Plate Campaign: Nearly 3,000 paper plate messages about child hunger have been collected – from people of all ages across our service area – for delivery to elected officials… and we’re still collecting! Elementary through high schools, after school programs, senior citizen groups, food pantries and many more helped us achieve such success with this campaign to support programs that help feed children at risk of hunger.
2. Farm Bill: A Farm Bill was approved that ultimately did not include the most harmful proposed amendments to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program / Food Stamps). These amendments would have hurt many people by making changes that would decrease the amount of money people received to purchase food or making it more difficult to qualify to receive benefits. The PA administration also increased funding for the LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) to minimize the harmful impact of the Farm Bill’s cuts to “Heat and Eat,” which disproportionately affected states like Pennsylvania. Lastly, the Farm Bill also made the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP/Senior Boxes) a “seniors only” program as anti-hunger advocates recommended.
3. TEFAP: Funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) was increased (authorized in the Farm Bill and appropriated in the recently passed “CRomibus” spending bill) and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture made an additional $57 million worth of TEFAP bonus commodity purchases at the request of anti-hunger advocates and members of Congress in our service area. This means more nutritious food will be made available to Americans struggling with hunger.
4. State Food Purchase Program: Funding for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) was protected provided level funding during a difficult budget season when many other programs found their funding levels cut. This will allow the Food Bank and our member agencies to continue to provide nutritious food to our neighbors in need.
5. Advocacy Hall of Fame: Our Food Bank was inducted into Feeding America’s Advocacy Hall of Fame Class of 2014. The name of our Food Bank will be prominently displayed on a plaque in Feeding America’s Washington, D.C. office. Only 14 of Feeding America’s 200 member food banks received Hall of Fame honors this year.