Farm Bill could aid food banks

Item by Chris Graham

Decline in support from a federal food-aid program has resulted in an inventory shortage at food banks across the country – including the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network based in Verona.
“We are facing a crisis situation right here in Virginia where the demand for food is far outpacing the supply that we are able to acquire,” said Marty White, the president and CEO of the local food bank and the chairman of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
“In the face of dramatic increases in the amount of people being served by our food pantry system, the decline in USDA commodities that we have received over the past few years has caused a severe shortage in the amount of food each family receives when coming for food assistance,” White said.
White and other food-bank leaders across the state and across the country are urging support of the new Farm Bill – which would provide more than $4 billion in new investment in federal nutrition programs and boost the supplies available to food banks.
“I urge everyone in the communities served by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network to reach out to senators Warner and Webb, and implore them to support the full funding of the Farm Bill,” White said. “Almost 50 percent of the families being served by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank have someone in the household working, and almost 40 percent of all the households served contain children.
“This holiday season, for many, the gift of food will be the greatest gift. We desperately need businesses, civic organizations and individuals in the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network that stretches from Lynchburg to Winchester to Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley, to help us meet this ever-growing food-shortage crisis,” White said.

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