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

Jun 12, 2024

New nutrition assistance program helps Ohio families with groceries this summer

While Ohio students are out of school for the summer, their families can receive help paying for groceries through a new statewide program. Summer EBT, also called SUN Bucks, gives eligible families $120 per child in school, issued onto an Ohio Direction Card.

Jun 6, 2024

New Ohio EBT/SUN Bucks program to feed more kids this summer

Eligible Ohio families will receive $120 this summer to buy groceries for their children through a new summer EBT/SUN Bucks program.

Brigette Hires, director of the Office of Nutrition for the Ohio Department of Education, said children whose caregivers cannot afford to buy enough food during the summer are at higher risk for food insecurity and learning loss. She pointed out children are automatically eligible to receive the one-time $120 benefit in the coming months if their families are on SNAP, Medicaid or the Ohio Works First program, and are certified by their school to receive free or reduced price meals.

May 29, 2024

Health and Human Service Briefs

Foodbank Association Decries Farm Bill: The Ohio Association of Foodbanks Executive Director Joree Novotny said in a statement that modest increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program inthe 2024 Farm Bill were undercut by a provision that would "erode investments in SNAP and other emergency food assistance programs overtime." The U.S. House Agriculture Committee recently passed its Farm, Foodand National Security Act of 2024, which now awaits a floor vote. "Ohio's families and local economies have already absorbed a loss of about $126 million per month in federally funded SNAP benefits in the wake of the pandemic," Novotny said "Unfortunately, rather than fully funding access to an adequate, wholesome diet, the House Agriculture Committee's bill language would mean less purchasing power forgroceries, as well as reduced investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program over time." It also does not include funding for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program, restricts the USDA's ability to direct for TEFAP foods to foodbanks, fails to permanently authorize replacement SNAP benefits and includes "harmful" changes to SNAP administration, she said.

Publications & Reports

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.

Feb 28, 2024

Local Food Purchase Assistance Program (LFPA) Report

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program, or LFPA. The State of Ohio received funds to support LFPA, which has been branded Ohio CAN (Community + Agriculture + Nutrition) in Ohio. The State of Ohio received $13.5 million for round one and for round two, or LFPA Plus, will receive a little over $13 million for a total of $26.5 million over a roughly three-year period. The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program was designed by USDA to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. LFPA uses non-competitive cooperative agreements to provide up to $900 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding for state, tribal and territorial governments to purchase foods produced within the state or within 400 miles of the delivery destination to help support local, regional and underserved producers. The cooperative agreements allow the states, tribes and territories to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, unique to their geographic areas and that meet the needs of the population. In addition to increasing local food consumption, the funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and underserved producers. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and Ohio Association of Foodbanks engaged Dr. Howard Fleeter and Dr. Jennifer Olejownik to conduct an independent analysis of Ohio CAN’s early outcomes to identify strengths, benefits, challenges, and areas for improvement. This report provides a summary of the key themes and findings they surfaced.

Feb 16, 2024

SNAP Look-Book: Hearing directly from our neighbors across Ohio

In the wake of unprecedented challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks traveled across the state, engaging in insightful interviews with recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These conversations provided a platform for our neighbors to candidly reflect on the effects that the pandemic, inflation, and the current economic landscape are having on their lives here in Ohio. This lookbook emphasizes the experiences of individuals and families one year after the end of SNAP emergency allotments, while being met with the continued increase in food cost.