Monday, May 4, 2009

New Funds, Public & Private, Feed Growing Hungry

As the economy falters and the number of hungry Texans rises, funding from both the public and private sectors is rushing to fill the gaps.

Private giving for food banks is up nationwide, according to USA Today. In Tyler, the number of donors to the East Texas Food Bank is up 115%, and their average gift increased from $49.66 to $56.37.  

Anonymous giving is also up, a trend exemplified by a recent $1 million anonymous donation to the North Texas Food Bank. “[The donor] said she would not have been able to look herself in the mirror over the holidays had she not made the gift,” said Jan Pruitt, the food bank’s CEO.

Government programs are following suit by making new investments in programs proven to feed children and the elderly. 

Texas TDA Commissioner Todd Staples recently announced the use of $11 million in federal stimulus money to retrofit school kitchens, making it easier to deliver healthy meals to children through the free and reduced-price lunch program. 

Soon thereafter, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $124,000 in federal grants to encourage the use of farmers' markets by low-income seniors in Texas this summer. 

Even judges are getting into the act, allowing probationers to donate food rather than perform community service. "What better way to help the community than by feeding people?" asked corrections officer Bob Hughes.

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