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June 17, 2024 12:46 pm

Local News

GA food banks struggle to meet demand; Farm Bill could help

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Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service

In a state where nearly 10% of households face food insecurity, Georgia’s food banks are grappling with an urgent problem.

The nonprofit group Feeding America said the Farm Bill, a crucial piece of legislation which is renegotiated in Congress every five years, holds the key to addressing the issue.

Vince Hall, chief government relations officer for Feeding America, said there is a significant gap between the amount of food donated and the actual need in local communities, especially in rural areas, which is where the programs within the Farm Bill come in.

“We’re asking Congress to double that funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program,” Hall explained. “That program moves food from local farms to local food banks, and it helps to close the gap between the food that’s been donated and the food that’s needed.”

He emphasized the current Emergency Food Assistance Program is still operating on a 2008 cost basis, which limits its impact. Hall noted the consequences of not securing this additional funding are dire, with 14% of Georgia children facing food insecurity.

Hall added in their plea to make changes to the Farm Bill, his organization is partnering with the Farm Bureau, International Dairy Farmers Association and the Pork Producers Council to raise awareness of the issue. He said if the bill is not updated soon, the current hunger gaps will only widen.

“If Congress doesn’t make that additional investment in emergency food assistance, we may have a crisis where not enough food is available to feed people in need, where distributions have to be closed or distributions run out of food,” Hall outlined.

He added they are also working to make it easier for people to advocate for themselves and speak to leaders in their own communities.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.