More Food for Food Banks
Helen mentioned that Arizona was one of the states affected by operational budget cuts under the TEFAP emergency food program. But there is some good news for the state. A new bill was passed making it easier for farmers to donate fresh produce to AZ food banks.
A 1993 law allowed taxpayers to subtract dollars from Arizona taxable income for contributions of qualified crops to charitable organizations. Farmers who met the six requirements that qualified a crop donation could deduct 80% of the wholesale or recent sale price (whichever is greater). But this was amended under Senate Bill 1121, part of the Arizona Food Bill, to allow 100% of the wholesale or recent sales price and eases some of the six requirements.
This amendment is helpful to farmers who are in the business of harvesting produce for agricultural sale and who want to give back to their communities. The amendment is also helpful to Arizona food banks who are stretched by the increasing number of households that need help to feed their families, especially since the economic downturn in 2008.
Did you know…
- In 2008, more than 1 in 7 American households struggled to put enough food on the table, the highest rate since 1995 (when the USDA began tracking food security levels).
- In 2008, about 16.7 million children were classified as food insecure (aka suffering food shortages). This is 4.3 million more than in 2007.
- In 2010, American household hunger was up 54% compared to 2006.
Legislation like Senate Bill 1121 has the potential to help put more healthy food on the table for families who are struggling. According to the Association of Arizona Food Banks, less than 1 percent of fresh produce grown in Arizona was donated to food banks in past years.
Projects such as the Feinstein Fight Against Hunger also work to this end and help more organizations join in. In 2012, National Relief Charities received nearly 1 million pounds of donated food for distribution on the reservations, much of which we would not have received if not for the Feinstein Challenge, and much of which will go to support food banks in our service area.