AUSTIN, Texas — The financial toll of the pandemic has left many extra Texas households searching for help from meals banks. A bunch referred to as Feeding Texas says greater than 25 p.c of households within the state are going through meals insecurity proper now. That is twice as many as earlier than the pandemic started.
Now, meals banks could possibly be going through a much bigger combat of their very own to attempt to sustain with demand. That is as a result of state companies have been requested to search out methods to chop their budgets, and the Texas Division of Agriculture is proposing slashing $2 million from a grant that helps meals banks.
“We recognize that the state is facing a crisis in terms of its budget, that there’s a need to tighten belts. But the cuts the governor and legislative leadership asked for should be cuts to agencies’ administrative budgets. They shouldn’t cut to the bone on grant programs like this one,” stated Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas which coordinates with meals banks throughout the state.
Cole calls the Surplus Agricultural Merchandise Grant a “win-win-win” for the state. It’s been round for 20 years and helps specialty crop farmers by paying them for donated produce.
“It’s a win for hungry families because it gets them the kind of nutrition they need – fresh fruits and vegetable to be healthy. It’s a win for Texas agriculture because it gives Texas farmers an outlet for surplus they can’t sell. And it’s a win for the state in that by having a healthier population, we see reduced diet-related illness and lower Medicaid costs,” Cole stated.
A spokesman for the Ag Division says it’s not a finished deal however that this is likely one of the few areas eligible for cuts of their finances. He additionally famous that meals banks have obtained an inflow of cash from the federal Coronavirus Help, Reduction, and Financial Safety Act.
“Food banks have received over 76 million in new CARES act funding this year, which makes the state contribution almost insignificant for this time period,” spokesman Mark Loeffler stated in a press release.
Cole says that cash will run out by the tip of October.