Our Statewide Request for Hunger Relief Funding in the 2024-25 Biennial Budget

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 $50 million per year in the 2024-2025 state biennial budget to help us procure additional locally grown produce, protein, and dairy products, shelf-stable foods, and center-of-the-plate items as well as essential non-food personal care and personal hygiene items. Foodbanks are the local and regional infrastructure our communities count on, whether during a public health emergency, a natural disaster, or an everyday crisis, and our communities will be counting on us as they continue to recover from a historic period of inflation, a lingering pandemic, and the end of other pandemic-related benefits.

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 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. This funding will build on our decades-long public-private partnership with the State of Ohio, Ohio farmers, growers, and producers, and hunger relief providers throughout all of Ohio's 88 counties.

How Can I Help?

Urge the Ohio General Assembly to fully fund our much-needed request of $50 million per year for the Ohio Food Program and Agricultural Clearance Program.

How exactly will this investment be used?

We are respectfully requesting a $50 million per year investment in the 2024-25 state biennial budget. With this funding, we will procure center-of-the-plate and shelf-stable foods and direct surplus and unmarketable agricultural products from nearly 100 Ohio farmers and producers through the state’s network of foodbanks and onto the tables of Ohio families, ensuring a source of nutritious, Ohio-raised food for Ohioans experiencing food hardship. Learn more about the the upcoming end of SNAP Emergency Allotments and the anticipated impact in this Center for Community Solutions brief. Learn more about the multiplier effects that this investment will have on Ohio's agricultural economy from our most recent Independent Economic Impact Analysis of State-Funded Food Programs, as prepared by Dr. Howard Fleeter.

Children that experience food insecurity can't learn on pace with their food secure peers. Free school meals for all Ohio students were available during the pandemic but have since been ended by Congress.

Older adults now make up 1 in 4 of the people we serve. Without adequate, wholesome food, older adults cannot age with dignity and independence in their own homes.

Ohio workers are also parents and caregivers. They are under incredible financial stress. They shouldn't have to choose between affording food, rent, utilities, gas to get to work, or other basic expenses.

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 - especially as pandemic-era supports end. To fill as many gaps as possible in the short- and long-term, Ohio's foodbanks and hunger relief organizations need additional support from every sector. We are grateful for the emergency one-time funding provided by the State of Ohio for state fiscal year 2023 to buy more emergency food, and we know more action will be needed throughout the upcoming biennium.

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.

Ohio foodbanks support Ohio's workforce, Ohio families and older adults, and Ohio's agricultural sector

  • Our workforce: providing a safety net for workers; preventing job loss and greater economic hardship by responding to household income shortfalls during personal or community crises, from a car repair bill to a tornado
  • Our families and older adults: helping kids learn and grow; supporting parents so they can focus on keeping up with other household expenses from housing to health care; and rethinking how we support older adults as they strive to age in place with dignity and in better health
  • Our agriculture and food producers: supporting agricultural and food supply chains; providing a safety net for producers

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants face impending drop in benefits

Throughout the pandemic, the lowest-income Ohioans received SNAP Emergency Allotments, which provided an average of $90 per person, per month in enhanced benefits. Congress prematurely ended these enhanced benefits, which were issued for the final time in February 2023. Workers earning low wages and people living on fixed incomes will be hardest hit, especially older adults and people living with disabilities. Along with a variety of other stakeholders, we are calling for the State of Ohio to appropriate about $42 million over the 2024-25 biennium to bring about 70,000 older Ohioans up to a minimum SNAP benefit of $50 per month: Support an Older Adult Minimum SNAP Benefit. 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+

High inflation has wiped out any gains and put Ohioans further in debt

Meat, fish, and egg prices are up 12.5 percent over 2021. The cost of renting a 2-bedroom unit in Ohio is up 12.6 percent over the past year. Ohioans are paying 33.7 percent more to heat their homes. Household credit card debt has skyrocketed as families struggle to keep up with basic needs. Meanwhile, farmers are hard-pressed by rising input costs and frontline providers like foodbanks are struggling to keep up with increased costs for fuel, food, and labor. At a time when more Ohioans are seeking help from foodbanks than at the height of the pandemic, we are counting on the State of Ohio to continue its role as a national leader in the fight against hunger.

Recent news coverage about the crisis we are facing: