Statement Attributed to Emily Weikert Bryant
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry applauds the announcement from the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they will provide nearly $1.5 billion in additional funding for emergency food assistance nationally. This new investment will help Hoosiers to begin alleviating the severe food shortage our food banks have been facing and help ensure people in our state do not need to make the difficult choice between putting food on the table and paying bills.
Food banks, pantries, and other charitable food assistance programs have been providing a record response during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting 60 million individuals in 2020 and 53 million in 2021. This level of aid would not have been possible without USDA food purchases. In 2020, USDA foods made up 38% of all food distributed by the Feeding America network, of which the members of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry are a part, translating to over 2.4 billion meals for community members in need.
USDA food purchases are a lifeline for rural communities, which often face higher rates of food insecurity than urban communities. In 2020, 96% of rural counties received USDA food items distributed by a food bank within the Feeding America network.
Today, the demand for emergency food assistance remains well above pre-pandemic levels. But in 2022, food banks have struggled with a food supply crisis. Our food banks have been facing an unprecedented combination of supply chain disruptions, decreased donations of food and funds, and rapidly increasing costs for purchased food, transportation, cold storage and other operational needs. This investment from the Biden administration will help close the gap between the amount of food we can provide and the hunger relief Hoosiers need.
The member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry stands ready to distribute this emergency food aid as soon as possible to individuals and families facing hunger in our communities.
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks. Member food banks include:
Freestore Food Bank, Cincinnati, OHFood Bank of Northwest Indiana, Merrillville Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY