Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Marcia L. Fudge
Sent By:
Date: 7/30/2015

Dear Colleague:

I invite you to join a bipartisan effort to support our nation’s food banks by sending a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to once again use his administrative authorities to distribute existing funding to purchase The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities in FY2013.

The crisis of hunger continues to be a serious problem plaguing this country. The number of families struggling to make ends meet has increased significantly over the last few years. Forty-six million Americans, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, are now receiving emergency food assistance each year through the nation’s food banks.

Even though the need continues to increase, food banks are facing the prospect of bare shelves. Through TEFAP, USDA provides food banks with healthy, nutritious, American-grown food commodities. USDA must provide food through TEFAP, so our nation’s food banks can meet the demands for food. By directing existing funds, the Secretary can provide both needed food to the nation’s food banks and additional support to America’s farmers and producers.

To sign this letter or for more information, please contact Kellie Adesina in Rep. Fudge’s office at or Angela Inglett in Rep. Goodlatte’s office at The deadline to sign this letter is Wednesday, August 5th.

/s /s
Rep. Marcia. L. Fudge Rep. Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress Member of Congress

/s /s
Rep. Robert A. Brady Rep. Don Young
Member of Congress Member of Congress

/s /s
Rep. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. Rep. Rodney Davis
Member of Congress Member of Congress

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

Thank you for your continued commitment in the fight against hunger. We write this letter to urge you to use your administrative authority to ensure USDA is utilizing all possible resources to ensure a steady stream of TEFAP commodities to our nation’s food banks. Specifically, we encourage you to utilize existing Section 32 funds and be proactive with regard to TEFAP purchases, including bonus purchases and specialty crop purchases. Food banks across the country are depending on USDA to continue this commitment.

While national unemployment rates have dropped, millions of people continue to struggle to get back on their feet, struggle to find work, or get by on reduced wages and hours on one family income when there once were two. According to the Hunger in America 2014 report released by Feeding America, forty six million Americans, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, are now receiving emergency food assistance each year through the nation’s food banks.
Unfortunately for food banks, USDA bonus commodity purchases have declined 17 percent over the last two years from a high of $302 million in FY2012. The purchase amount for FY2015 is expected to decline again to a low of $175 million unless additional purchases are made before the end of the fiscal year. We believe there are significant opportunities to increase commodity purchases for distribution to struggling families given the over $200 million in remaining Section 32 funds and available agriculture surpluses on the market. Food banks are struggling to meet high demand, sometimes unable to fill order requests from local agencies. These shortfalls could be ameliorated by USDA making additional TEFAP commodity purchases and maximizing market surplus opportunities.

TEFAP commodities are critical to emergency food providers. Our nation’s food banks are stretched thin meeting sustained high need in their communities. According to Feeding America, TEFAP commodities comprise, on average, about 20% of the food moving through their network of 198 nationwide food banks. Without additional TEFAP commodities, food banks will be hard-pressed to continue providing current levels of food assistance to those in need. Once again we encourage you to utilize your existing funds and authority to maximize TEFAP commodity purchases.

We appreciate your attention to this request and look forward to hearing from you.