Our Statewide Request for ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds
Ohio’s hunger relief network has not only been on the front lines for the past three years – but for the past fifty. We are your neighbors and friends, and we are busy innovating every day to make our communities healthier and more food secure. We are seeking $90 million in emergency funds because we are the local and regional infrastructure our communities count on, whether during a public health emergency, a natural disaster, or an everyday crisis. From July 2022 to September 2022, Ohio's foodbanks and their partner food pantries served 42% more people than during the same quarter in 2021 - providing take-home groceries nearly 3 million times in just 3 months. Without immediate and long-term investments, our statewide network of 3,600 local faith-based and community organizations providing food and other resources won't be able to sustain this response as pandemic support ends for Ohio families with low or fixed incomes. Read more about our request, which we have revised downward from our original $183 million request based on other support we are grateful to have leveraged from the USDA, Governor DeWine and the State of Ohio, and other sources.
How exactly will this investment be used?
We are respectfully requesting a $77 million investment of state flexible ARPA recovery fund dollars to build and maintain our statewide network's capacity in the long-term to ensure it is well-equipped for ongoing and future food and economic crises, including repairing or replacing badly damaged or inefficient buildings and equipment, adapting spaces to be more versatile for wraparound services and workforce development programs, supporting hubs in hard-to-serve, rural communities, and more. We are requesting an additional $13 million investment to purchase desperately needed food and personal care items during a time of increased demand, high food and fuel costs, supply chain pressure, and declines in donated food and funds. We invite the public, our elected officials, members of the media, and community stakeholders to read more about how each of our 12 member foodbanks would use these funds to serve community needs. Learn more about the state of hunger and the crises facing our hunger relief response in this State of Hunger 2022 Brief.
Build, renovate, and expand foodbank warehouses to handle more food, accommodate commerical kitchens and repack areas, and facilitate wraparound services.
Improve and expand the hunger relief network's transportation fleet to increase capacity for perishable food logistics and delivery programs.
Establish neighborhood-based markets in high-need and underserved communities to meet ongoing food and basic needs budget and access shortfalls.
Purchase food and personal care items during a time of continued high need and rising prices to maintain access to a variety of foods and basic hygiene products.
Purchase critical logistics equipment for regional and local storage and distribution of foods, such as forklifts, warehouse racking, refrigerators, and freezers.
Recover the cost of retaining and hiring essential staff to meet the increased workforce need and to facilitate onsite workforce development and reentry programs .
Why is this investment needed?
Ohio communities are counting on their foodbanks to be resilient to help them weather whatever current or future crises occur and regain and maintain basic food and economic security. To do so in the short- and long-term, Ohio's foodbanks and hunger relief organizations need investments in their physical and human infrastructure.
Ohio foodbanks and hunger relief providers have responded to sustained or increasing demand for 15 years, doing more and being more for more Ohioans year in and year out. The working families, older adults, people living with disabilities, children, and caregivers we serve continue to count on us more often and in more volume than prior to the pandemic, while at the same time we are facing enormous shortfalls in available food sources.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants face impending drop in benefits
Throughout the pandemic, the lowest-income Ohioans have received SNAP Emergency Allotments, which have provided an average of $80 per person, per month in enhanced benefits. These enhanced benefits will end when the federal public health emergency status is removed. Workers earning low wages and people living on fixed incomes will be hardest hit, especially older adults and people living with disabilities. We recently partnered with The Center for Community Solutions and Advocates for Ohio's Future to conduct in-depth interviews with ten older Ohioans (60+) participating in SNAP. Read more about the troubling rise in demand for help from our hunger relief network from older adults and what SNAP participants told us about their experiences with food insecurity and the impact that the loss of SNAP Emergency Allotments will mean to their food security, health, and well-being: Older Adults, Food Insecurity, and SNAP: A special brief on the crisis facing Ohioans 60+
Recent news coverage about the crisis we are facing:
- Foodbanks struggle with fewer donations, ABC News 5 Cleveland, November 3, 2022
- Ohio foodbanks starving for funds to replace rapidly dwindling supplies, WOSU Statehouse News Bureau, August 24, 2022
- 'We're desperately worried about food.' For Ohio foodbanks, a bad situation gets worse, Ohio Capital Journal, August 23, 2022
- Woes continue for Greater Columbus food assistance programs struggling to meet need, The Columbus Dispatch, August 17, 2022
- Editorial: Ohio should use $50 million from rescue fund for hunger, The Columbus Dispatch, July 31, 2022
- Opinion: Food, fuel, housing cost driving hunger to 'unprecedented level,' The Columbus Dispatch, July 29, 2022
- Food banks struggling with donations down, inflation up, The Tribune Chronicle, July 24, 2022
- Akron Canton Foodbank and clients feel inflation pressure, News 5 Cleveland, July 21, 2022
- Long lines, empty shelves: Ohio's hunger response network is hurting, Public News Service, July 21, 2022
- Southeast Ohio Foodbank scales back: supplies diminish while needs grows, The Logan Daily News, July 19, 2022
- Funding losses and high prices force food bank to close down mobile distribution, WOUB, July 9, 2022
- Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank marks one-year anniversary in Canton, The Canton Repository, July 5, 2022
- Food banks face a 'long, hot summer of need', Ohio's Country Journal, July 5, 2022
- Mike DeWine, legislators need to ensure food banks have resources to meet needs of Ohioans: Editorial, The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com, June 22, 2022
- Feeling inflation's pinch, Ohio's foodbanks plead for help, Axios Columbus, June 22, 2022
- Inflation and supply chain issues affecting food banks, WMFJ Youngstown, June 21, 2022
- Ohio food banks need help to weather perfect storm of rising need, Cleveland.com, June 19, 2022
- Going hungry: Pandemic, inflation, supply issues prompt cry for help, Ohio Capital Journal, June 16, 2022
- 'We're all feeling it.' Food pantries, banks continue work, seek support as prices soar, Cincinnati Enquirer, June 15, 2022
- Inflation is sending more Ohioans to food banks. Can pantries keep up? Lima News, June 11, 2022
- Food Banks Report Shortages, The State of Ohio, June 10, 2022
- Inflation is increasing demand at Ohio's food banks, Statehouse News Bureau, June 13, 2022
- Editorial: Second Harvest needs help to assist those in need, The Morning Journal, June 13, 2022
- Editorial: Open aid to food banks, The Toledo Blade, June 12, 2022
- Second Harvest warns food for hungry might soon be rationed as donations plummet, The Morning Journal, June 9, 2022
- Tri-State food pantries go from feast to famine amid inflation, summer break, WCPO Cincinnati, June 7, 2022
- 'It is more difficult and more expensive to obtain food,' The Columbus Dispatch, June 1, 2022
- Letter: Food banks need help now, The Columbus Dispatch, May 28, 2022
- Ohioans go hungry as state sits on huge stack of money, Ohio Capital Journal, May 24, 2022
- Food pantries in Ohio struggle to feed hungry amid surging inflation, The Columbus Dispatch, May 10, 2022
- 'I worry about what happens next year:' Federal waivers that decreased childhood hunger end soon, The Chronicle-Telegram, May 7, 2022
- Ag Report: Inflation, food price increases weigh heavy on Ohio foodbanks, Spectrum News 1, May 6, 2022
- The impact of rising food prices, WOSU's All Sides with Ann Fisher, April 27, 2022
- Food bank supply crisis: CNN visits Ohio, CNN, April 8, 2022
- Pandemic policies took a bite out of hunger, Public News Service, April 6, 2022
- Foodbanks in Crisis: Leading through Uncertainty, Just a Bite podcast episode, April 5, 2022
- Rising prices of food and gas adding pressure to Northeast Ohio food banks, WKYC News Channel 3, March 9, 2022