Louisiana’s food banks are facing a critical point in our emergency food response, serving the thousands of new households affected by the COVID-19 crisis with rapidly dwindling resources. The Senate is preparing to vote on a third COVID-19 stimulus package as soon as this afternoon which could divert more resources to food banks and the people we serve through the provisions listed below but we need to ensure they are not left behind in the final version.
Please contact your Senators using the template below & urge their immediate support for families facing hunger due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Senator Kennedy’s Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Cassidy’s Office: email@example.com
Dear Senator [Kennedy/Cassidy],
I am writing to urge you to support the efforts of Louisiana’s food banks and the larger emergency food system in the upcoming COVID-19 stimulus package. Food banks are in dire need of additional food resources, funding, and program flexibilities to support the increased demand on the system.
· As of March 21st, Louisiana has confirmed 763 positive cases of COVID-19 across 35 parishes.
· The closure of schools, retailers, entertainment outlets and much of the hospitality industry has left children without access to regular school meals and workers without wages.
· The Louisiana Workforce Commission is reporting a nearly 1700% increase in applications for unemployment benefits.
· Applications for food assistance through SNAP have doubled compared to the normal rate.
What We Need
Communities across Louisiana have been significantly harmed by the spread of COVID-19. Your support for the safety net programs that can assist individuals and families through this hard time is critical. You can support struggling Louisianans through the upcoming aid package by ensuring the inclusion of:
· $700 Million in TEFAP allocation for the purchase, storage and distribution of food through the Feeding America network,
· Language granting food banks programmatic flexibilities to distribute TEFAP commodities without the red tape that hinders our abilities to effectively respond to this unprecedented disaster, and
· A 15% increase in SNAP benefits to help support the food needs of individuals and families across the state, in turn supporting grocery stores and small businesses in every community.
Louisiana food banks are reaching critical levels of inventory and will not be able to meet the surge in demand without greater access to TEFAP commodities. Food banks are straining organizational budgets to purchase non-restricted food items that can be distributed, but will soon run out of these items while restricted TEFAP commodities sit in the warehouse.
Our food banks cannot meet this unprecedented need without immediate support from the needs outlined above. Your action to strengthen our federal nutrition programs now is vital to continue to serve the thousands of Louisiana households negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.[Name][Title][Organization]