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At its meeting last night, the Budget Conference Committee added funds for critical programs such as PASSPORT and behavioral health, but surprisingly, the committee failed to provide any additional funding for Ohio’s emergency food assistance network. Please email or call TODAY and tell Statehouse leaders to amend the budget on the Senate floor today and on the House floor tomorrow to insert an additional $9 million in the emergency food assistance line item.

Advocates for Ohio's Future and its partners are disappointed that the Conference Committee neglected this most basic of human needs. Millions of children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities rely on Ohio’s 12 foodbanks and the more than 3,000 emergency food providers in the emergency food network to meet their basic needs.

At a time when foodbanks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters are seeing steady increases in demand, the lack of additional funding from the Conference Committee will be devastating.

In recognition of these uncertain times, rapidly rising fuel and food costs, skyrocketing demand for emergency food assistance, and the health care cost savings that increased food security and access to healthy foods will bring to Ohio, Advocates for Ohio’s Future and the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks are requesting support of an amendment to provide an additional $4.5 million per year ($9 million over the 2012-2013 biennium) to support emergency food assistance and the continuation of a highly successful public/private partnership.

Will you take five minutes to call or email state leaders? Click the link and enter your zip code to find phone numbers, or use our easy email contact system. Every call and letter will make a difference. Tell them:

Proposed funding for emergency food assistance in the state budget is woefully inadequate. There will be real-life consequences for vulnerable Ohioans, particularly for the nearly 1 in 3 Ohioans who live at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Economic projections for the next two years suggest that life won't be getting any easier for those who have been struggling because of unemployment, wage stagnation, and high fuel and food prices. Please amend the budget to put an additional $9 million toward the emergency food assistance network.

This is our last chance to amend this budget and strengthen the safety net in Ohio. Please forward this email and encourage your colleagues and friends to act now. We cannot afford to have these children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities, waiting in line or being turned away from food pantries.

Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, Co-Chair