Rep. Costa and California Food Banks Host Community Leaders to Fight Valley Hunger
Fresno, CA – Yesterday Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and the California Association of Food Banks brought together community leaders for an anti-hunger workshop.
Over 100 thousand individuals suffer from food insecurity in California’s 16th Congressional District alone, according to the most recent USDA data. There are numerous organizations throughout the Valley actively fighting hunger in their communities, with food banks and the support from local, state, and federal government programs all playing pivotal roles in successful anti-hunger efforts.
The purpose of yesterday’s workshop was to discuss the realities surrounding food insecurity in the Valley and how to best collaborate and coordinate resources to most effectively combat hunger.
The Central California Food Bank – where yesterday’s anti-hunger workshop was held – provides food to more than 220 agencies fighting hunger in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern, and Tulare counties. “Every day we see first-hand the devastating effect of hunger in our Valley. With one out of every three children at risk of having to go to sleep hungry, we are committed to doing all that we can to end this hidden epidemic,” said Andy Souza, President/CEO of Central California Food Bank.
During the workshop, local leaders voiced concern over how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be affected by this year’s Farm Bill. SNAP is a crucial anti-hunger program, serving roughly 4 million Californians each month, including 25% of the individuals living in California’s 16th Congressional District.
“SNAP helps 4 million low-income Californians put food on the table and supports our local economy so that struggling households in the Valley have enough money to buy groceries for their families,” shared Rachel Tucker, Senior Policy Associate at California Association of Food Banks.
Dramatic reductions to the number of food-insecure Americans served by SNAP was a key factor in the House rejecting its version of the Farm Bill in May.
“Hunger is all too real for far too many in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Congressman Costa. “The most effective way to address challenges in our communities is by local leaders and all levels of government working together and doing their part, which is why I joined with California Food Banks to hold this workshop. We must ensure that the people of the Valley – including children, seniors, and veterans – have food, and I will continue to work with our Valley leaders, anti-hunger organizations, and members of Congress on a bipartisan basis to make sure they do.”
As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Costa has been appointed to the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Costa and his colleagues on the Conference Committee must reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill – including vast differences in the treatment of SNAP – in order to move the legislation forward. The Committee’s first meeting is scheduled for September 5th.