The House Appropriations Committee released their initial version of the $825 billion stimulus package, and not surprisingly it contains no money for food banks, which have seen a doubling of demand in the past 6 months.
Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America, a network of 205 food banks said, “This package contains many positive provisions that will help our economy begin to recover, but the House Committee must keep in mind that food banks nationwide are reporting a 30 percent increase, on average, in the number of people turning to them to help put food on their table. Many of the people we see are recently unemployed and do not currently qualify for food stamps, or are waiting for benefits to be approved” (Story continues below).
Escarra said that if the government can afford $300 billion for banks, it can afford $300 million for food banks, “We are heartened by President-elect Obama’s longtime commitment to fighting hunger in America, and his renewed sense of commitment in his pledge to end child hunger by 2015. The Economic Recovery legislation is the first opportunity for a new President and new Congress to make progress toward eliminating hunger. If we can afford more than $300 billion to bail out banks, surely we can afford $300 million to help our food banks.”
It is beyond comprehension that the government would use taxpayer money to help Bank of America, which ironically is not even based in America, but ignores the need for food, by the poor and newly unemployed. The newly unemployed rarely have savings, and it can take weeks to qualify for food stamps, so in many have to rely on food banks and pantries.
Instead of spending more money for DTV converter cards, Congress should be directing that money towards actually helping people who have lost their jobs due to this recession eat. I would rather spend $300 million than $20 billion any day. This is another example of the misplaced priorities of our government.