Local food banks hit hard by stalled farm bill - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Local food banks hit hard by stalled farm bill

April 10, 2008

Albany -- While the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill extension  met delay after delay on Capitol Hill, Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle found themselves in a struggle over spending.

But in the midst of that struggle are local food banks that rely on the farm bill for federal funding.

"There's been a significant decrease in the amount of bonus commodities out of on the market that the food banks are able to procure and give to our agency that our on the front lines of fighting hunger," said Food Bank of Southwest Georgia President & CEO Brett Kirkland.

More than 300 partner agencies, from soup kitchens to churches, depend on the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia for donations. But while food banks are low on supply, they're also high on demand. And it's placing the hurt on the nation's hungry, including here in Southwest Georgia

"We serve a wide area. About half-a-million folks. And there's about 110,000 living at or below the poverty level and about 30,000 of those are children. So we've got a big task in front of us," said Kirkland.

But despite the shortage of federal funding, Kirkland remains optimistic that when the April 18th deadline for the 2008 Farm Bill reaches it's final outcome, it will bring increased funding, and bring more food back to the near empty shelves.

He said, "This farm bill is probably going to add about $250 million of commodities to the market which would be just an unbelievable opportunity for us as food banks."

The 2002 Farm Bill expired Septempber 30, 2007, but was extended several times to March 15. But President Bush has said that the House and Senate are asking for more U.S. Farm Bill money than he's willing to approve.

The Food Bank of Southwest Georgia says that it's state food funding has been plentiful, but they also rely on heavily on private donations. For more information on how you can donate, click on the link below.


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