Each week the need for food assistance grows as family budgets break under the pressure of rising costs for gas, groceries, and other essentials. While we work to meet this growing need, our federal dollars don't go as far and food is hard to source due to supply chain disruptions. We need your help.
Facing the COVID Cliff
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress last year provides the state with $5.36 billion, separated into two allocations, to promote an equitable recovery from the pandemic for all Ohioans. The administration and the Ohio General Assembly have not invested any of this money into the health and human services sector.
A COVID cliff will hit at the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and affect families in our region. Several COVID-related enhanced benefits and flexibilities tied to the PHE have made it possible for families to weather rising costs for basic needs and maintain stability during uncertain times.
Families will soon face the end of enhanced SNAP benefits, the redetermination of Medicaid cases, and resumed federal student loan payments, all within a few months. These pandemic flexibilities were intended to be temporary. Yet, these supports' sudden and significant loss – without investments in the remaining safety net and the organizations that help these families – will increase food and economic hardship causing more confusion and stress.
Sign our petition to support the Advocates for Ohio's Future request for the Ohio Government to use a portion of these funds to provide:
- $183 million for Ohio food banks to maintain and build a resilient local and regional basic needs infrastructure, including $50 million in immediate support to purchase essential food and non-food items.
Why is this important to the Southeast Ohio Foodbank?
- Our inventory is dangerously low—the amount of food we have to distribute is 36% less than at this same time last year. The declines in food from Federal, State, and Local sources is impacting foodbanks across the country, including ours, our member agencies, and most importantly, the families we collectively serve.
- Locally, we are also seeing an increase in the number of people seeking emergency food—we served 8,417 more people in April than we did in January of this year, an increase of 58%.
- The handful of food processors and manufacturers in Southeast Ohio have few donations, and grocery store donations have declined dramatically.
- Food manufacturing is down across the country, and likely you’ve witnessed empty shelves at grocery stores.
- With less food coming in, our only solution is purchasing food and we do not currently have the funds to do so. All of these factors combined with the unwind of COVID support, rising costs, and limited funding for our operations has resulted in significant financial challenges at our foodbank.
- Nationally, 20 million birds have died as a result of the avian (bird) flu, affecting chicken and egg prices. Eggs increased by 60 cents a dozen in just one week. Eggs have always been a critical and low-cost source of protein for families.
- Farm production costs (feed, fertilizer, and seed) are increasing dramatically. The war in Ukraine is disrupting the US’s fertilizer supply with both Russia and Ukraine being significant suppliers of key fertilizer components.
- Shipping costs have tripled due to the rising cost of diesel fuel & CDL driver shortages. Our monthly fuel bill to keep our trucks on the road has nearly doubled.
- In isolation, these issues are manageable but taken together; they are deeply concerning. Without additional support, we fear that we will not be able to respond to the increased need.
We ask our friends and supporters to sign our petition to bring necessary and approved funding to the Southeast Ohio Foodbank and our sister food banks in Ohio.