Feeding America Applauds USDA Announcement Of TEFAP Bonus Purchases
December 10, 2012
Feeding America applauds the announcements by USDA on December 6 and 7 that they intend to purchase up to $35 million in turkey products, up to $16 million in wild blueberries, and up to $25 million in fresh and processed potatoes. According to the USDA press release, the purchases are expected to be directed to federal nutrition assistance programs, including those that serve food banks. Those programs include the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a federal program that helps food banks provide nutritious food to low-income Americans in need of hunger relief. Approximately 85% of the food that moves through the TEFAP program is distributed by Feeding America network members. TEFAP foods comprised 17 percent of the 3.3 billion pounds of food Feeding America distributed in FY 2012.
The announcement by Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Edward Avalos comes at a time when Feeding America food banks are struggling to meet consistently high demands for food assistance throughout our nationwide network of food banks. With demand at food banks expected to remain high as millions of families struggle to get back on their feet, this purchase of nutritious produce and protein will fill a much needed gap at food banks nationwide.
As food banks grapple with expected higher food price inflation in 2013 due to the 2012 drought, and Congress considers potentially devastating cuts to the SNAP program, demand on food banks is expected to increase.
“We appreciate the Administration’s timely and much needed turkey, blueberry and potato purchases,” said Bob Aiken, President and CEO of Feeding America. “Our food banks are experiencing unprecedented demand for food assistance, driven by slow economic recovery and continued high rates of unemployment and TEFAP foods are integral to our ability to meet that demand.”
“We urge Congress and USDA to work together to ensure that sufficient levels of food and funds are available for the purchase and distribution of federal commodities so that emergency food assistance remains available to those in need and that food pantry shelves do not go bare,” said Aiken.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.