NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Food banks are hurting as a federal economic stimulus program that helped provide surplus food is coming to an end.
The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/WIukz6) food banks rely on surplus from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food Assistance program to supplement donations from the public. In 2009 and 2010, funding for that program doubled in Tennessee as part of President Obama's economic stimulus package.
The amount of surplus food dropped 25 percent last year and another 50 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal year. But demand for food assistance is still high.
"There's less food for more people" said Tasha Kennard, spokeswoman for the Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville. "That's the pinch we are all in right now."
Bob Evans, president of Lebanon's Love One Another Embassy, which runs a food bank called Joseph's Storehouse, agreed.
"There's a sea of people who need help out there" he said.
In 2008, Tennessee received $6.15 million worth of surplus food. That number jumped to more than $13 million in 2009 and 2010, before dropping back to $6.6 million last year.
Terry Minton is the commodity administrator for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. She said the amount of surplus food available tends to ebb and flow.
"We have had quite a lull in our food deliveries, but we seem to be picking up," she said.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com