My heartfelt thanks to the members of the Washington Senate and House for recognizing the importance food banks have in combating hunger in Washington. While they have included funds for the Emergency Food Assistance Program in previous budgets, the amount has not increased since 2008. During that same time the need in Pierce County has grown 69 percent.
The additional funding in the 2014 budget will provide food banks money they desperately need, and the ability to use it in ways that make sense for them. While this additional funding will not solve the problem of hunger, it takes an appreciated and necessary step in the right direction to support food banks throughout the state.
As the need continues to increase, food banks can continue to keep their doors open. Special-needs food banks will be able to respond to an elderly client who might include Ensure or salt-free foods. Food banks that see a high percentage of working families with children can buy peanut butter or baby food, much needed but rarely available items.
This funding is an investment in our community and families here in Pierce County. These additional funds will increase the amount of food reaching our neighborhoods that need it most. When our neighbors are fed, we are more stable and are better able to work towards economic recovery and growth. When our children are fed they can attend school and learn.
Makes sense doesn’t it? I’m so grateful our legislators agree.
(McGovern-Pilant is executive director of the Emergency Food Network.)