DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Food banks across Ohio, including The Foodbank, Inc. in Dayton, are about to get some extra help to tackle food insecurity and rising costs.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed additional funding for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks into law. giving them an additional $25 million.
“We can make sure we have what we need in stock here to meet ongoing demand and request for food assistance,” The Foodbank Chief Development Officer Lee Lauren Truesdale said.
While the need for emergency food assistance has gone down since the start of the pandemic, The Foodbank is still serving more families than they did before. They’re serving between 350 to 400 families at their drive thru distributions every two hours.
“What that means is people are just having a harder time getting back on their feet,” Truesdale said. “We really attribute that to the high cost of living right now, and certainly, specifically, the high cost of food.”
The Foodbank is also getting hit by inflation. The cost of food went from 53 cents per pound before the pandemic to $1.07 per pound in early 2022.
“We weren’t buying any more product, it’s just that food was much more expensive, so our wholesale food purchase dollars have really increased,” Truesdale said.
With DeWine’s signature on House Bill 45, 12 regional food banks in Ohio will split more than $25 million. The Foodbank will receive around $1.6 million to offset food costs, support their 112 partner agencies, and provide for cultural needs or diet restrictions.
“Let’s say we have a lot of pork in stock, so we need to buy some beef, maybe that’s what we can do with it,” Truesdale said. “Or we don’t have any peanut butter, and having those nut butter alternatives that are shelf stable, that are good sources of protein are really important to what we do here.”
Truesdale said The Foodbank is thankful for the support from the state, which will help stabilize and strengthen their mission in the Miami Valley.
“It’s just kind of a great stamp of approval and seal on that the State of Ohio really recognizes what’s happening across the state, that a lot of folks need some extra food assistance and that they’re here to support that as well,” Truesdale said.
Truesdale also thanked the community for their support, and said, right now, what they need most are more volunteers. To find out more about how you can help The Foodbank, click here.