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Another legislative victory in the fight against hunger in Kentucky!
In March 2017 Governor Bevin has signed into law HB 237. It will increase resources for food banks through enhanced immunity from liability for food donors. It will also clarify date labeling of food products.
Thank you, anti-hunger advocates, for taking action against hunger!
2017 Advocacy Priorities
Kentucky Association of Food Banks’ (KAFB) mission is to provide food and quality services to increase the capacity of Kentucky’s Feeding America food banks to end hunger. The decisions of our elected officials and the policies they implement can either help or hinder the ability of low-income Kentuckians to overcome hunger and access the resources they need to strengthen their families. Therefore, KAFB spearheads advocacy and public policy efforts in Kentucky and nationwide in collaboration other organizations whose interests and concerns align themselves with our mission.
KAFB and our network of more than 800 partner agencies are feeding more than 600,000 Kentuckians, or 1 in 7, each year. KAFB members distributed 69.6 million pounds of food in FY 16, or the equivalent of 58 million meals. Our members could not meet the current need without support from federal nutrition programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), or without tax policies like the charitable giving deduction and food donation tax deduction. We could not meet added demand if federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, were cut or otherwise weakened.
Federal Nutrition Programs
KAFB strongly supports efforts to protect and strengthen the federal nutrition programs. TEFAP helps food banks provide nutritious food to low-income Kentuckians in need of short-term hunger relief in partnership with local pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters. CSFP provides nutritious food packages to an enrolled population of seniors with incomes of less than 130% of the Federal Poverty line.
The FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill should appropriate full funding for TEFAP and CSFP as outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill.
- Provide full funding for TEFAP Mandatory Commodities with appropriate mandated indexing adjustments.
- Provide $100 million for TEFAP Storage and Distribution Funds to support the infrastructure and distribution necessary to meet current levels of need.
- The Secretary of Agriculture should apply bonus TEFAP purchase criteria as generously as possible and make specialty crop purchases for TEFAP early and often to increase the availability of TEFAP commodities.
- Provide $222.2 million for CSFP.
For the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, we oppose funding cuts and harmful policy proposals including efforts to block grant; cap or cut funding; impose restrictive work requirements; or otherwise reduce benefits or restrict eligibility or participation. Reducing hunger must a primary goal of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Though a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill appears unlikely in 2017, the federal child nutrition programs must be strengthened through appropriations and through regulatory reforms. KAFB supports increased participation in summer meals through the Summer Food Service Program. Policy should be enacted to make it easier to open more summer food sites and to provide communities flexible options for serving kids during the summer.
We support increased access to afterschool meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition to providing meals to children on-site, communities should be allowed to innovate more effective ways to reach kids on weekends, such as sending children at risk of hunger home from school on Friday afternoons with a backpack of nutritious meals or child-friendly groceries.
In addition, Congress should examine opportunities to streamline CACFP and SFSP program rules and eliminate duplication for organizations operating both programs. Established community-based programs should be allowed to operate under a set of streamlined administrative requirements.
Tax Provisions to Encourage Donations
KAFB and our members rely on support from a variety of sources, including individual and corporate giving and donations of product from all segments of the food industry.
We oppose efforts to reduce the tax deductibility of charitable contributions. We support tax incentives that strengthen food banks and that encourage donations of food and funds to the charitable sector.
State Policy Initiatives
KAFB supports efforts to increase the availability of nutrient-dense locally grown food to low-income Kentuckians through the Farms to Food Banks program. The current state income tax credit for farmers who donate to nonprofit feeding programs will “sunset” in taxable year 2017. KAFB supports the extension of the tax credit and an increase in the amount of credit from 10 percent to 20 percent.
Donations from retailers, manufacturers and farmers make up a substantial portion of the food distributed through our food bank network. KAFB supports the enactment of state regulations that offer enhanced protection for donors and food banks beyond what is covered under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
We oppose efforts to place a cap on itemized charitable deductions in an attempt to increase state revenue and balance the state budget.
KAFB supports efforts to establish a state earned income tax credit. The EITC is a tax credit for low- and moderate-income working families that is designed to help people afford to work by offsetting the rising costs of child care, transportation, and utilities that working families need. The federal EITC has been in place since 1975, and 26 other states – including three of Kentucky’s neighbors – have adopted a state EITC because of its effectiveness. Kentuckians deserve the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
Thank you for TAKING ACTION to help secure state funding for hunger relief!
The 2016-17 Kentucky state budget includes $600,000/year for the Farms to Food Banks program. Thank you for your help ensuring that Kentucky joins the ranks of other states that provide funding for hunger relief.
Tax Credit Bill Signed Into Law
Governor Beshear signed the tax credit bill for agricultural donations to food banks bill in March 2013. This important legislation will increase the amount of food available to feed hungry Kentuckians by providing an incentive for farmers to donate unmarketable agricultural products rather than disking them under in the field.
Thank you for your help contacting legislators! Thanks also to our friends at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Community Farm Alliance, and the Kentucky Horticulture Council for working to see this legislation enacted.
From left: Kurt Reiber, Freestore Foodbank; Don Fulford, Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland; Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes; Tamara Sandberg, Ky Association of Food Banks; Governor Steve Beshear; Cassia Herron, Community Farm Alliance; Representative Tom McKee; Tina Garland, Ky Farms to Schools; Fred Nesler, Ky Dept of Agriculture; Bill Wickliffe, Ky Dept of Agriculture; and Heather Hyden, Community Farm Alliance.
Photo credit:Governor’s Office.
A copy of the press release is available here.
Click here to listen to coverage of the bill on Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Across Kentucky program.
Tax Check-Off Bill Signed by Governor Beshear
On April 23, 2012 Governor Beshear signed House Bill 419 into law. It will allow taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to the Farms to Food Banks trust fund by “checking off” a contribution on their state personal income tax form, starting in tax year 2013. Click here to read the text of HB 419.