Advocacy Alert – TEFAP

Advocacy Alert – TEFAP

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Please call (phone numbers for our Food Bank service area Members of Congress are below, please scroll down)  your Member of Congress’s DC and district office (in case you call during August recess) and ask them to support food banks by signing the TEFAP Bonus letters sponsored by Senator Casey and Representative Fudge. THE DEADLINE IS FRIDAY AUGUST 7.

Tell congressional staff should reach out to the following staffers to sign onto the letters:

“Hello, I’m your constituent and a supporter of God’s Pantry Food Bank, I am calling to ask (member of congress name here) to contact Representative Fudge and Senator Casey and sign on to the TEFAP Bonus letters as sponsored by Casey and Fudge.”  Continue to give them the information of the staffers in the above bullet points if asked.

Please give them the information above as to who to contact in Fudge/Casey office and below is the letter we are referring to.

Here is a copy of the letter to email/forward to the office if they ask for it:

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

Thank you for your continued commitment in the fight against hunger.  We write this letter to urge you to use your administrative authority to ensure that USDA is utilizing all possible resources to ensure a steady stream of TEFAP commodities to our nation’s food banks.  Specifically, we encourage you to utilize existing Section 32 funds and be proactive with regard to TEFAP purchases, including bonus purchases and specialty crop purchases. Food banks across the country are depending on USDA to continue this commitment.

While national unemployment rates have dropped, millions of people continue to struggle to get back on their feet, struggling to find work or getting by on reduced wages and hours or one family income when there once were two.  According to the Hunger in America 2014 report released by Feeding America, forty six million Americans, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, are now receiving emergency food assistance each year through the nation’s food banks.

Unfortunately for food banks, USDA bonus commodity purchases have declined 17 percent over the last two years from a high of $302 million in FY12.  Unless additional purchases are made before the end of FY 2015, the purchase amount for FY2015 is expected to decline again to a low of $175 million.  With over $200 million in remaining Section 32 funds and available agriculture surpluses on the market, we believe there are significant opportunities to increase commodity purchases for distribution to struggling families. Food banks are struggling to meet high demand, sometimes unable to fill order requests from local agencies. These shortfalls could be ameliorated by USDA making additional TEFAP commodity purchases and maximizing market surplus opportunities.

TEFAP commodities are critical to emergency food providers.  Our nation’s food banks are stretched thin meeting sustained high need in their communities.  According to Feeding America, TEFAP commodities comprise, on average, about 20% of the food moving through their network of 198 nationwide food banks.  Without additional TEFAP commodities, food banks will be hard-pressed to continue providing current levels of food assistance to those in need.  Once again we encourage you to utilize your existing funds and authority to maximize TEFAP commodity purchases.

We appreciate your attention to this request and look forward to hearing from you regarding this issue.

 

PHONE NUMBERS:

Hal Rogers

DC PH: 202-225-4601

KY PH: 606-679-8346 (Somerset)

 

Mitch McConnell

DC PH: (202) 224-2541

KY PH: (502) 582-6304 (Louisville)

 

Rand Paul

DC PH: 202-224-4343

KY PH: 270-782-8303 (Bowling Green)

 

Brett Guthrie

DC PH: (202) 225-3501

KY PH: (270) 842-9896 (Bowling Green)

 

Thomas Massie

DC PH: (202) 225-3465

KY PH: (606) 324-9898 (Ashland)

(502) 265-9119 (LaGrange)

(859) 426-0080 (Northern KY office)

 

Andy Barr

DC PH: 202-225-4706

KY PH: 859-219-1366 (Lexington)