With 35 million individuals either experiencing hunger or teetering right on the verge of hunger each year, the American people expect Congress to take every reasonable action possible to address food shortages, particularly here in Michigan. Last year, Congress passed a bill designed to encourage federal agencies to regularly donate surplus food to organizations that feed the hungry and each year, the providing funding to a number of organizations that help distribute food. In addition, each year, Congress passes appropriations for food banks/pantries. The following organizations received federal appropriations in the past:
- Bay Area Food Bank. Bay Area Food Bank, which distributes food donated by grocery stores, restaurants and the like to soup kitchens and homeless shelters received $245,000 for the construction of a commercial-size kitchen (FY 2008) (Jo Bonner).
- Tucson Community Food Bank (TCFB) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords requested $200,000 for “solar panels” at the TCFB in the FY 2009 budget.
- Second Harvest Food Bank received $700,000 in 2007.
- In 2006, Sen. Obama requested $2,499,400 for the Food Stamp Participation Project of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The Food Stamp Participation Project is development of new technology projects, which are designed to increase the access to the food stamp program. One is designed for use by the general public and the other is a web based application designed for use in food pantries. [Obama Request Letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies, 3/31/06].
- For FY 2009, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) requested $368,500 for renovations at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank
- The South Texas Food Bank will receive $136,670.48 in conjunction with the 2008 Farm Bill should it be signed into law.
Although this list is not comprehensive, you can see, federal funding is available for a wide variety of needs, including: infrastructure improvement, child nutrition programs, food stamps and childhood obesity prevention, among other things. This funding is requested directly through Congress and is unrelated to a grant.
With a lack of funding from the state, organizations such as those with food banks, should turn their attention to Washington for support.