Local Food Shelf Directors Attend Listening Session on 2023 Farm Bill
With the Farm Bill hearings in Congress coming up, local food shelf directors came together at the Bemidji Public Library on Tuesday to share what could potentially benefit their communities in this latest version. A major portion of this bill would include increased investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), providing a backbone to the nation’s hunger-relief system.
But with inflation skyrocketing the price of food and more people seeking food assistance after the pandemic, the group Second Harvest Heartland reaching out to local food shelf and soup kitchen directors to find the answer to one question – what are the solutions within the Farm Bill to implement programs to feed people within their respective communities?
“I don’t know how to fix it. Unless you have the funds or the state addresses the transportation issue, it’s not gonna get fixed,” said Ashley Hall, Falls Hunger Coalition Executive Director. “And it’s heartbreaking to know there’s people out there that need the help and we cannot get to them. And it might be a cluster of five houses, it might be 50. It might be an hour away, it might be 20 minutes. It doesn’t matter where they are, they can’t get the food.”
“Raising the benefits, making it easier and reducing the barriers on what people can get – don’t decide for folks what they need,” said Sue Estee, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Executive Director.
The Feeding America 2022 Map found food insecurity rates in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District at 8%, or over 50,000 people, with child food insecurity at almost 16,000 kids.
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