Food Banks Make Case For Funding

Mar 10, 2017

One in six people in Utah struggle with hunger, according to the group Feeding America, and 1 in 5 Utah children don't know where to get a next meal.

Such statistics are why hunger-fighting groups are concerned about possible cuts to federal nutrition programs under the Trump administration.

Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, was one of 1,200 people in Washington this week at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.

He said this year, people turned out in record numbers to advocate for the much needed programs.

"They help kids do better in school," he stated. "They make people healthier. They save health care system costs.

"They're really among the very best investments that government makes in this country. So, they're potentially under threat from the Congress and the president. "

While Congress hasn't yet made an official attempt to reduce nutrition funding, House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated a desire to trim and even dismantle some programs.

The Utah Food Bank says more than 30 million meals were delivered to Utahans last year.   

Utah remained last in the nation for school breakfast participation for low-income students, according to the Food Research and Action Center's latest report card.

Weill said with pockets of poverty spread throughout the state, people may not even know their neighbors struggle with having enough to eat.

"What people don't always realize is that their neighbors, their coworkers, people around them may be going hungry," he states. "Parents are skipping meals so kids get enough to eat."

This week, Weill and others delivered a statement signed by almost 3,000 national and state organizations calling on the president and Congress to maintain policies that ensure no one is hungry.