Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern Praises Food Banks for Innovative Solutions to Hunger, Highlights Need for Strong Investment in Anti-Hunger Programs

Sep 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) spoke on the House Floor about the important role that food banks in Massachusetts, like Worcester County Food Bank and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and food banks across the country play in helping families and communities struggling with hunger. Congressman McGovern spoke about volunteering this past summer at Philabundance, a Philadelphia-area food bank, as well as the importance of supporting local food banks and strengthening federal anti-hunger programs as part of a comprehensive strategy to end hunger. Click here for video of Congressman McGovern’s speech.

“Food banks across our country, like Philabundance, and the Worcester County Food Bank and Food Bank of Western Massachusetts – both located in my Congressional district – do incredible work to reduce hunger in surrounding communities. They employ innovative strategies to fight hunger and increase access to nutritious food for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

“The truth of the matter is, we know that food banks and other charitable organizations can’t do it alone. Some in Congress have proposed cuts and other restrictions to our federal anti-hunger and nutrition programs, we often hear from them that charities – not the government – should be responsible for eradicating hunger.

“I agree that food banks and food pantries, and other charitable organizations are incredible on-the-ground partners in our efforts to end hunger. They are often the first line of defense in emergency situations. 

“Our charities are doing an incredible job on the front lines, but ending hunger will take a strong partnership between these organizations and federal, state, and local governments. We know that strong federal investments in these critical safety net programs reduce hunger, improve the diets of low-income households, and save billions of dollars in health care costs. 

“So the next time my colleagues look to score political points by demonizing our federal anti-hunger programs, I ask you to think about these programs and the impact they are having on constituents in each of our districts.” 

Click here for video of Congressman McGovern’s speech.

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“I recently had the opportunity to visit and volunteer at the Philadelphia region’s largest hunger relief center – Philabundance. 

“Philabundance, a member of the Feeding America network of food banks, aims to drive hunger out of local communities with an eye toward eradicating hunger altogether. 

“Each week, Philabundance serves 90,000 people in the Philadelphia area through partnership with 350 agencies and food distribution programs.

“Incredibly, last year alone, they distributed almost 30 million pounds of food to neighbors suffering from hunger and food insecurity in nine counties. 

“I was impressed by the innovative strategies Philabundance employs to feed hungry people in its region. The Philabundance Community Kitchen equips those looking to re-enter the workforce with valuable life and kitchen skills while also providing meals to those in need. 

“Philabundance also opened the nation’s first nonprofit grocery store – called Fare & Square – in Chester, a city that faced a serious economic downturn due to the loss of manufacturing jobs. Fare & Square provides affordable and healthy food to the community, as well as discounts to those who qualify. 

“Food banks across our country, like Philabundance, and the Worcester County Food Bank and Food Bank of Western Massachusetts – both located in my Congressional district – do incredible work to reduce hunger in surrounding communities. 

“They employ innovative strategies to fight hunger and increase access to nutritious food for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

“The truth of the matter is, we know that food banks and other charitable organizations can’t do it alone. 

“Some in Congress have proposed cuts and other restrictions to our federal anti-hunger and nutrition programs, we often hear from them that charities – not the government – should be responsible for eradicating hunger.

“I agree that food banks and food pantries, and other charitable organizations are incredible on-the-ground partners in our efforts to end hunger. They are often the first line of defense in emergency situations. 

“But charities cannot do everything. Such are the facts. Charities do face limitations. Many are small and only open on limited schedules. Most are run with the support of dedicated volunteers, some of whom have other full time jobs. 

“Often, these charities operate out of small spaces like basements or closets at houses of worship. And importantly, they rely on donations from members of the community as a primary source of food to distribute. 

“Our charities are doing an incredible job on the front lines, but ending hunger will take a strong partnership between these organizations and federal, state, and local governments. 

“For our part, the federal government must continue to invest in our preeminent food and nutrition programs like SNAP, WIC, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), just to name a few, and fight attempts to cut or weaken them. TEFAP is especially important to our food banks, as they rely on this federal funding to serve those in need.

“We know that strong federal investments in these critical safety net programs reduce hunger, improve the diets of low-income households, and save billions of dollars in health care costs. 

“So the next time my colleagues look to score political points by demonizing our federal anti-hunger programs, I ask you to think about these programs and the impact they are having on constituents in each of our districts. 

“I urge you to visit your local food banks and charities, and see all of the incredible work they are doing to reduce hunger in our communities. Ask these organizations how the federal anti-poverty programs support their efforts to bring food to those most in need. 

“And I urge all my colleagues to remember this fact: Today in the United States of America, the richest country in the world, over 42 million of our fellow citizens are hungry. They are kids. They are senior citizens. They are people who can’t find work and they are many, many people who are, in fact, working. They defy stereotypes. All of them are our brothers and sisters and we should care. And we should absolutely do more than we are doing right now to end hunger in America.

“The federal government, working with charities and local partners, has within our grasp the power to end hunger now. What we lack is the political will. Let’s at long last create the political will and guarantee that in our country, no one ever has to struggle with food insecurity or hunger. We can end hunger now.”

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