396,000 Washington families now struggle every day to put food on the table.
Families face increasingly tough challenges to make ends meet and put food on the table. Over the past three years, the number of hungry families grew by 85% across Washington. Now when it is needed more than ever, our coalition supports a balanced approach to the state budget that restores and protects our state’s hunger relief system so we can ensure our neighbors can meet their most basic need: food.
2013 Legislative Agenda
Benefits for the State Food Assistance Program were cut in half on July 1 for 11,000 Washington households. These families now have less than $2 per person per day for food – that’s one third of the amount needed to purchase enough food to be food secure. Denying food to one group of children creates inequality that follows them to school. Restore $21 million to DSHS’ State Food Assistance Program to restore full benefits for 2013-15 biennium.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) provides crucial funding to local food banks around the state. Food banks depend on EFAP funds to pay for food, transportation and operational costs. Despite the fact that food banks with EFAP grants have seen a 35% increase in visits since 2008, our emergency food system has not seen an increase in state support since 2008.
Add $3.7 million to WSDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program for 2013-15 biennium.
Connecting farmers to local schools and markets makes Washington’s kids and communities healthier and Washington’s farms stronger. Funding WSDA’s Farm to School Program and Small Farms Program is good for kids and good for our local economy.
Restore $500,000 to keep WSDA’s Farm to School and Small Farms programs running during 2013-15 biennium.
Our state budget has been reduced by $12 billion over the last 4 years. Social services have been cut far more dramatically than other parts of the budget – even at a time when need climbed to and has stayed at record highs. Social services are at a breaking point: additional cuts could result in the elimination of some programs because with less support, there isn’t enough capacity to continue.
We urge the Governor and the Legislature to take a balanced approach to creating a sustainable state budget that includes new sources of revenue and that reviews and reforms our current tax exemptions and expenditures.
Download information about our priorities here:
To read about our past Legislative Agendas, Click Here.