Joree Novotny, director of external affairs for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said if there's been a silver lining in the pandemic, it's been many of the investments in family economic stability, like the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. According to census data, the first child tax credit payments released last month were linked to a 24% reduction in food insufficiency for households with kids. "I think that we've been able to see from the responses that Congress and the administration have taken," said Novotny, "what we can do long-term to gain back some traction that we've lost in equity and racial and social justice for average families in Ohio and across the country."
"For too long, our tax system has contributed to poverty, inequality and basic needs hardship by balancing budgets on the backs of working families. Before the pandemic, about 4 in 10 Americans weren’t prepared for even a $400 emergency. We cannot afford to return to the status quo. The recovery plan proposed by President Joe Biden and being weighed by members of Congress is an extraordinary opportunity to invest in an equitable economy."
As budget negotiations at the Ohio Statehouse continue, food security advocates are sounding the alarm over what they say is a threat to families that rely on SNAP benefits. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks says more than one and a half million Ohioans rely on SNAP benefits to help them get nutritious food every week, and new restrictions proposed in the Ohio budget could limit who gets food and how often.
A late addition to the Ohio Senate's budget proposal would place greater restrictions on the eligibility of SNAP benefits -- also known as food stamps -- for tens of thousands of Ohioans. The proposed provisions, which are similar to those included in a standalone Senate bill that died in committee earlier this year, have been met with fierce opposition from food banks, community advocacy organizations and churches.
"This may be the first summer without child hunger in Ohio, but it’s only thanks to temporary assistance from Congress. We must enact permanent and long-term policies in order to keep disaster from striking those most vulnerable. Next year will be worse unless we use this time to examine the policies that work and make long-term change. The time is now to invest in the future of Ohio’s families."
"Quite frankly, we could not have delivered the tremendous response without their leadership and assistance. We will never forget this gift of service," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Ohio Association of Foodbanks executive director.