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: