Texas Lawmakers Can Help Fight Hunger in the 2023 Legislative Session

Texans and food banks alike are facing tough times. Inflation is combining with supply chain squeezes to reduce the purchasing power of food banks and people facing hunger. As a result, food banks are experiencing a surge in the number of Texans seeking emergency food assistance.

Food banks are responding as best they can to the increased demand for food, but more support is needed. That’s why Feeding Texas is advocating for hunger solutions at the statewide level in the upcoming Texas legislative session.

Finding common ground in today’s highly divided political climate is challenging, but we can all agree that food should not be an impossible choice. As we look ahead to the 88th legislative session, Texas lawmakers have the opportunity to address food insecurity and help food banks meet the need in their communities.

Feeding Texas is calling on our elected leaders to:

  1. Increase funding for produce rescue to help food banks provide nutritious food to their communities. The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant helps food banks rescue unsellable produce for distribution to hungry Texans, offsetting losses for Texas growers and mitigating the impact of food waste on the environment.
  2. Index the SNAP vehicle asset test to inflation to better reflect today’s car values. Current limits on vehicle value haven’t been updated since 2001 (primary car) and 1974 (additional cars), forcing families to choose between a reliable vehicle and feeding their families.
  3. Improve college completion rates by maintaining access to SNAP for low-income students enrolled in vocational and technical degree programs. This policy was adopted during the pandemic to ensure students can access the food assistance they need to finish their degrees and go on to gainful employment.
  4. Support people exiting the criminal justice system to enroll in SNAP by implementing pre-release registration. By ensuring access to food, SNAP supports the re-entry process, reduces recidivism, and lowers the cost of incarceration. .
  5. Improve health outcomes and reduce state healthcare costs by piloting a Medicaid reimbursement program for medical nutrition programs, such as Food Rx and Medically Tailored Meals. These proven interventions demonstrate that healthy food is good medicine.

Hunger not only keeps Texans from thriving, it costs Texas $44 Billion annually. Smart policies — combined with the work food banks are doing on the ground every day to feed Texans — will ensure food for today, food for tomorrow, and food for a lifetime.

Texas communities informed these priorities.

To identify our network’s priorities for the 2023 legislative session, Feeding Texas met with community focus groups comprised of Texans experiencing food insecurity from all corners of the state. We asked participants about the troubles they face and collected insights from their lived experience.

During a convening in spring 2022, the Texas Food Policy Roundtable, a coalition of over 50 organizations dedicated to ending hunger in the state, brainstormed policy solutions to address the issues surfaced in these focus groups. Feeding Texas’ Board of Directors, representing the chief executives of the 21 food banks in our network, voted to approve these priorities for the 88th Texas legislative session.

Join Feeding Texas in the fight against hunger.

With your support, we can continue advocating for change at the Texas Capitol. Your donation sustains our work to educate Texans, engage stakeholders, and persuade decision-makers.

Beyond donations, here are some ways you can support our advocacy efforts in the upcoming session:

  1. Follow Feeding Texas on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates and share our content.
  2. Speak out in support of our legislative priorities and educate those around you.
  3. Join our mailing list and be on the lookout for digital actions from Feeding Texas as the session gets underway.

Ensuring food for a lifetime requires systemic change to address the root causes of hunger. The Texas Legislature has the power to effect that change, and Texans have the power to persuade our lawmakers to act. Solving hunger is possible when communities come together and demand better.

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