NewsTreasure CoastRegion St Lucie CountyFort Pierce


2 federal food programs set to expire Dec. 31

Food banks could lose 50% of food received from USDA
Posted at 4:58 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 07:10:25-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Foodbanks in South Florida and the Treasure Coast are expected to take a major hit. Two federally-funded programs are in jeopardy and could end soon unless Congress decides to act quickly.

This comes at a time when the need for food is critical.

Representatives at the Treasure Coast Food Bank said they have seen a 200 percent increase in the number of people they serve.

On average, they help about 150,000 families a week since the pandemic started, and now there's a major concern.

Judith Cruz
Judith Cruz, the president and CEO of the Treasure Coast Food Bank, says they are seeing a shortage of canned products.

Come January, food banks stand to lose about 50 percent of the food they receive from the USDA due to two vital programs that are set to end.

First is the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, which allocated $7 billion to buy food directly from farmers and distribute to foodbanks across the U.S.

Second is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program initiative also known as CFAP. This program started in the spring and helps provide families with fresh produce meats and dairy products.

Both programs are set to end on Dec. 31.

Judith Cruz, president and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank, said they are also seeing impacts right now with the current aluminum can shortage.

"We are seeing shortages with canned products and things that involve that type of packaging, and that's due to shutdowns again with aluminum and the ability to make those cans," Cruz said.

With these programs set to end, all eyes are now on Congress.

The hope is that lawmakers will act quickly and pass their new relief bill which is expected to increase food stamp benefits and provide funding for food aid programs.