DearColleague.us

Letter

 

From: The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
Sent By:
Angela.Inglett@mail.house.gov

Date: 7/29/2016

Support America’s Food Banks

*Deadline: August 5th 2016*

Dear Colleague:

I invite you to join a bipartisan effort to support our nation’s food banks by sending a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 FY2016.

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

felix.muniz@mail.house.gov in Rep. Fudge’s office or
Angela.Inglett@mail.house.gov in Rep. Goodlatte’s office.
The deadline to sign this letter is August 5th, 2016. 

/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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is utilizing all possible resources to ensure a steady
stream of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (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 are on track to decline this year. In FY2015, USDA bonus commodity purchases provided an additional $300 million in US grown commodity purchases to our nation’s food
banks.  So far in FY2016, only $205 million in bonus commodity purchases have been made. If no additional purchases are made, this would amount to a 32% drop in purchases for FY2016. We believe there are significant opportunities to increase commodity purchases
for distribution to struggling families given the $107 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.