March 2023 Food for Thought
Advocacy postcards through our Food for Thought program are back! We have sample messages to elected officials, blank postcards, and stamps waiting and ready to go at Extraordinary Ventures during our sort dates. If you are coming to volunteer or to drop off donated food, please feel welcome to join as you can (this time or in the future – the messaging changes each month). There will be a table set up with postcards and someone on hand to walk you through postcard writing if you’re new to it – it’s super easy! The time commitment is less than 5 minutes for a postcard. Let our legislators and other elected officials know that we are paying attention and that we insist they enact policies that prioritize our most vulnerable neighbors.
Want to write a postcard from home? Go for it! Our sample messaging for this month is below. (Note: If you would rather email or call your elected officials, feel free! We encourage you to reach out in whatever way is most comfortable.)
Once you have contacted your elected officials, we ask that you fill out this brief form to let us know that you have done so. It will only take a minute. This helps us to measure our impact! Thank you!
Dear Senator/Representative [NAME]:
Our rural communities provide much of our food yet people there have the highest rates of food insecurity and hunger. Please support strong additional investment in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a lifeline for food banks and the community members who depend on them.
Address postcards to: Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Tedd Budd, and your U.S. House Rep. (Find your U.S. House Rep and their contact information.)
Questions? Reach out to Susan Romaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are three facts you should know about the role TEFAP plays in helping rural communities weather the country’s hunger crisis.
1. In rural areas, hunger pains can be the sharpest.
Having to make the impossible choice between buying groceries and other necessities is a reality faced by millions of people across the United States – especially those in rural areas. Living in a rural community comes with a unique set of challenges, including less access to food, higher rates of chronic disease, and limited healthcare infrastructure. As a result, rural counties make up 63 percent of all U.S. counties, but 87 percent of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity.
2. TEFAP is a hunger lifeline for rural communities.
TEFAP is a federal nutrition program run by the United States Department of Agriculture that, at a bird’s-eye view, moves pantry staples from U.S. growers and producers to food banks (and other food-distributing organizations) to families in need. The program acts as an anti-hunger powerhouse for rural pockets of the U.S. In 2020 alone, 96 percent of rural counties received TEFAP food items – everything from fruits and vegetables to dairy and meat – distributed by a food bank within the Feeding America network.
3. Lawmakers have an opportunity to invest in TEFAP to support rural and other areas.
TEFAP delivers in every community across the nation, particularly in rural ones. That’s why our lawmakers should support strong, additional investments in TEFAP to help ensure food banks can meet the need in their communities – especially now. Learn more here.