First increase in state history since 2007, providing essential funding to Washington state food banks.
The number one legislative priority for Food Lifeline this year has been advocating for an increase to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), an essential move for Washington State as lines continue to increase at area food banks and more people are in need of hunger relief assistance. Representative Larry Springer and Representative Roger Goodman of Washington State’s 45th District were key players in adding funds to EFAP.
“The team at Food Lifeline is extremely thankful for the leadership of Representative Springer and Representative Goodman – both are powerful advocates for necessary, smart investments for hunger relief. These funds are vital to our network of partner food banks to meet the increased need in our communities,” said Gina Clark, Director of Public Policy at Food Lifeline.
In addition to purchasing food, these EFAP funds will provide money for food banks to buy new freezers, repair delivery vans and keep the lights on in the food pantry. Before the funding increase, EFAP had not seen additional funds in nearly 7 years, meaning it was operating at pre-recession levels. Thanks to the efficiency of Food Lifeline’s network of partner food banks and food banks throughout the state, this $800,000 investment by Washington State will help leverage up to 2,400,000 additional meals between July 2014 and June 2015.
The additional funding in the 45th District will help support other area food programs such as Hopelink in Kirkland.
The other anti-hunger requests Food Lifeline supported received mixed support. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program which provides vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables to seniors and WIC clients received $200,000, a small but important step towards restoring the cuts that have been made in the last several years. The State Food Assistance program did not receive any additional funding in 2014 and Food Lifeline hopes to get those benefits fully restored next year.
About Food Lifeline
Food Lifeline approaches hunger as a logistical problem that can be solved. Working with the food industry and its surpluses, we come up with creative solutions to stopping hunger, including redirecting good food from manufacturers, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants that might otherwise go to waste. We provide 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs, and that, combined with our policy work, creates a sustainable approach to hunger.