TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The East Texas Food Bank joined a statewide coalition of advocates calling on representatives to reverse a funding cut on food banks across the Lone Star State. This could impact East Texans if lawmakers decide not to reverse a funding cut towards a specific grant.
During the pandemic, The East Texas Food Bank saw a record number of people needing assistance.
Many are still in need, despite the state slashing funds to the East Texas Food Bank by 44% back in October.
“It’s almost a $100,000 funding cut just to the East Texas Food Bank. So really what that translates to is a loss of over 615,000 meals of fresh food and vegetables that won’t be able to go out to our neighbors in need,” East Texas Food Bank Public Information Officer Lauren Barnes said.
With this cut, the East Texas Food Bank will receive $92,373 less in funding, which will result in 738,984 less pounds of produce going out to East Texans in need. That equates to a loss of 615,820 meals. Per a statement from the East Texas Food Bank.
The Texas Department of Agriculture cut $1.9 million of funding towards the Surplus Agricultural Grant, a 20-year grant that the food bank uses to procure fresh produce from local growers, rather than being tossed out.
“We’re really concerned about such a major funding cut like this, at a time of all-time high of need,” Barnes said.
Currently in Austin, legislators are meeting to review the state budget and other items in their biennial legislature meeting. They have until May 31 to finalize their reports.
“We’re just hoping that our legislatures will see this increased need and see how important this program is and reverse that funding cut so we can make sure that all Texans have access to the food that they need,” Barnes said.
According to the food bank, 256,410 East Texans are facing hunger.
For more information on ways to get involved and support Texas food banks, click here.
Another available tool is to reach out to your local representative. For more information, click here.