News & Updates

We strive to be a trusted source of information and expertise to elevate the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing food insecure Ohioans.

Press Releases & Media Statements

May 25, 2024

House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Language Falls Short

"After hours of discussion and markup, and months of delay, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee passed its Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 out of committee early Friday morning. While the legislation as drafted recommends some modest, positive changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), those changes are undercut by a proposal that would erode investments in SNAP and other emergency food assistance programs over time. At a time when our neighbors are faced with historically high costs for food and other household expenses and with food insecurity rates trending in the wrong direction, we need a strong farm bill that protects everyone on the food supply chain, from farmer to grocer to family. We urge Ohio’s congressional delegation to insist on a farm bill that fully invests in food and economic security. Ohio’s foodbanks and the households we serve need more help, not less.”

May 2, 2024

Ohio Association of Foodbanks Statement on Rural Prosperity and Security Act framework

“Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee released a framework of its Rural Prosperity and Security Act, a critical step forward in advancing a strong, bipartisan farm bill that protects and promotes food security for families and stability for farmers.
“As Ohio’s leading charitable response to hunger, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks has partnered with local and regional agricultural partners for decades to help reduce hunger and promote food security, while reducing food waste and contributing to a resilient food supply chain. That’s really the guiding principle that should underpin a successful farm bill – making investments that preserve and protect healthy communities, from the seed in the soil to the food on the table.
“The bill framework introduced protects and invests in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – something that is non-negotiable in any farm bill, and especially at a time of growing food insecurity and historic hardship. It signals critical support for programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program (LFPA) that help to prevent the indignity of hunger while supporting a reliable, robust agricultural sector, one that we’re all counting on to continue feeding the nation and the world. With 1.2 million people or more visiting emergency food pantries across Ohio every month for the past year – far more than at any time in our history – we know firsthand how much Ohioans are counting on meaningful investments in federal nutrition programs.
“As the farm bill process moves forward, we urge Congress to work together to pass a bipartisan bill that strengthens and protects investments in programs that nourishes children, parents and caregivers, workers, people with disabilities and older adults and supports farmers, growers and producers. Federal nutrition programs are vital to helping tens of millions of people across the country, including millions of Ohioans, access the wholesome food they need to thrive. The time is now – hardworking farmers and families can’t wait.”

Apr 18, 2024

Feeding America announces John van Hengel award winner for 2024, celebrates network members

Michael McKee, CEO of Blue Ridge Area Food Bank was awarded the 2024 John van Hengel Fellowship by Feeding America during the organization’s annual conference this week. Seven network members and affiliates were also recognized for their outstanding work, including: Arizona Food Bank Network, Facing Hunger Foodbank, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, God’s Pantry Food Bank, Northern Illinois Food Bank, and Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

Ohio Association of Foodbanks is recognized for its pioneering approach to healthy food access by embracing the potential of a USDA program that incentivizes purchases from local producers for hunger relief activities. The partner state association worked diligently to foster trusting relationships among food banks and over 100 local farmers, most of whom were historically underserved by federal programs. Through direct dialogues, the state association helped partners agree on a unified aim of a resilient local supply chain with a pipeline for smaller growers. This approach balanced equitable prices and the scale needed to reach more people facing hunger.

Media Coverage

Jul 10, 2024

Federal Program Will Give Eligible Students $120 To Buy Groceries This Summer

Summer can be the hungriest time of the year for students who rely on free or reduced school meals and a new federal program is trying to help those families.

Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (S-EBT) — also known as SUN Bucks — is a new grocery benefit program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will give families $120 per eligible student to buy groceries during the summer.

Ohio is one of more than 30 states that has opted into the SUN Bucks program.

“We have a lot of Ohio children who rely on their school meals for their breakfasts and lunches, and in the summertime sometimes it’s very difficult for households to be able to provide meals,” said Brigette Hires, director of nutrition for the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. “This new Summer EBT has really helped to just have another safety net for households in the summertime to be able to provide nutritious meals for their families.”

The SUN Bucks program is estimated to help 840,000 Ohio students afford groceries during the summer and is the first new permanent federal nutrition program in more than 50 years.

Jul 8, 2024

Summer nutrition programs address child hunger

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched SUN Programs to provide $120 in grocery benefits per child in Ohio and Kentucky.
• Families now have convenient options for receiving summer nutrition support, including pickup and delivery services in rural areas.
• With an estimated $100,800,000 in assistance for Ohio, the program aims to enhance summer nutrition security for children and teens.

Jun 23, 2024

Ohio House bill aims to help college students dealing with food insecurity

Food insecurity on college and university campuses is an issue, though sometimes a well hidden one.

“I was surprised when I found out how many people on campus were going through tough times,” said Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University who is also director of the Falcon Food pantry. “I know of someone who left a domestic violence situation and was able to do it because of the help she received from the pantry and university. I have known students who lost a parent or had one in a car accident, and they were not able to count on them for financial support. I know programs like ours make a difference and I am so glad we are able to help.”

Ohio Reps. Sean P. Brennan (D., Parma) and Dave Dobos (R., Columbus) have co-sponsored a bill to create and sustain similar programs on more of Ohio’s campuses.

House Bill 590, the Hunger-Free Campus Act, would establish the Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program with a $2.5 million appropriation to be used to give grants to colleges and universities that have an established food pantry or want to open one.

Publications & Reports

Jul 16, 2024

Hunger Free Campus

May 8, 2024

Give SNAP a raise!

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as 'food stamps,' stands as our nation's largest and most effective public aid program, serving as a primary defense against hunger. For every meal provided by the Feeding America food bank network, SNAP benefits supply nine. Particularly vital for low-income older adults, SNAP contributes significantly to achieving food security. The current minimum SNAP benefit of $23 per month falls short in providing adequate nutrition support. The low benefit amount also contributes to low SNAP participation among those eligible who may be hesitant to reach out for help and reluctant to tackle the paperwork required to enroll in the program.