How Budget Cuts Could Affect the Yuma Community Food Bank

Yuma

How Budget Cuts Could Affect the Yuma Community Food Bank

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YUMA, Ariz. – (KSWT News 13) - The Yuma Community Food Bank is mostly funded by private donations, but it does get some funding from the federal government.

Now, deep budget cuts may take that money away.

Food Bank President Mike Ivers and Director of Operations John Abarca went to Washington to put a face on hunger.

Ivers and Abarca say there's not a politician in Congress who wants to go on record as being "in favor" of letting people go hungry.

But the problem is, millions of dollars in federal funding for America's food banks are tied up in a multibillion dollar farm bill.

"What do we do? What can we plan for without those specifics?" asks Abarca.

Two hot topics on Capitol Hill hold the key to food bank funding: The Farm Bill and Tax Reform.

The few millions of dollars earmarked for food banks are insignificant amidst the billions upon billions the Farm Bill represents.

But Abarca says lawmakers don't distinguish between the parts of the Farm Bill. They'll cut it all or nothing … unless they can agree on how to do otherwise.

As for tax reform, there are talks on Capitol Hill of closing certain loopholes, like tax-deductible donations to organizations like the food bank.

"That's really going to hit us from both sides. We're going to lose funding from some of the nutritional programs the federal government funds and at the same time, we're going to lose the ability to get support from private individuals which really is the bulk of our support," explains Abarca.

But federal funding is also fairly significant.

"Anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of what we do as an organization is funded from government sources," states Abarca.

Nobody in Washington wants to go on record as "in favor" of letting people go hungry, but they aren't sure how to separate food bank support, from their more controversial parent issues.

Still, Abarca remains hopeful.

"We actually are hoping these policy makers will see the need for these programs and the value of these programs and will make sure they're funded appropriately," says Abarca.

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