Catch up on our Advocacy Efforts

Mediaon June 5th, 2017Comments Off on Catch up on our Advocacy Efforts

Advocacy aims to educate and mobilize Freestore Foodbank’s supporters at the local and national level around issues that impact the most vulnerable members of our society.  Our lawmakers and elected officials face important decisions over the next few months that could have a significant impact on our clients’ lives.

In Ohio, deliberations continue on the 2018-19 biennial budget.  In January of this year, Governor John Kasich unveiled his budget while warning lawmakers, lobbyists and business officials that there will be little room for spending increases. The Ohio Association of Food Banks has requested a $30M per year allocation to comprehensively address hunger issues across the state. This will fund critical programs such as the Ohio Food Program, the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program and several others that are equally important and effective. “Instead of single-sourced, siloed programs that operate separate and apart, we want full integration,” explains Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the Executive Director of the Ohio Association.  A comprehensive approach will allow the maximum amount of funding to be directed to where maximum need is while minimizing administrative costs and streamlining operations. In early May the budget bill was approved 58-37 by the House and is currently facing deliberations in the Senate.  It is expected that the state budget will be approved by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Kasich by June 30.

In an exciting turn of events in Kentucky, Governor Matt Bevin recently signed House Bill 237 which encourages businesses and private individuals to donate food to charitable organizations by protecting them from being sued by individuals who may claim to have been harmed by consuming donated food.  This Good Samaritan law that addresses food donations provides organizations with enhanced immunity from lawsuits based on nature, age and packaging of the food donated. “We think, just by early estimates, we should be able to save a million pounds of food that would go into the landfills,” says Kurt Reiber, President and CEO of the Freestore Foodbank.

Indiana’s lawmakers passed a series of bills in early spring this year to help children, the unemployed and individuals with disabilities. Of these Senate Bill 154 expanded eligibility for individual and families who sign up to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill raises the limit on liquid assets that a family can hold to a maximum of $5,000. This makes it possible for more families to qualify for assistance than in the past.

Our advocacy efforts help us raise awareness and leverage the support of lawmakers to influence policy decisions that have a long-term impact on our programs. To get involved in our advocacy efforts feel free to call Rajani Menon at (513) 482-4503