[BATON ROUGE]; For thousands of Louisiana workers, seniors, families, and children, the past year has been stark; rates of food insecurity, eviction, job loss, and poverty have spiked in communities around the state. Louisiana’s emergency food system, alongside mutual aid groups, housing alliances, and social service organizations, has worked to provide an unprecedented response with little direct fiscal support from state and federal relief.
However, there is currently an unprecedented influx of investment coming into our state via the American Rescue Plan and the American Jobs Plan; this gives us an opportunity to build a long-lasting and people-centered recovery. By ensuring resources go to the people who need them most--especially Black, brown, and families with low-incomes--we can move from a state of constant crisis to a state full of communities where people have the resources they need to thrive.
Feeding Louisiana joins the Louisiana Budget Project, the Center for Planning Excellence, the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, and the Power Coalition in calling on our state policymakers to put Louisianans first. Our priorities for a just recovery must address the immense needs of Louisiana communities who have been the hardest hit by the pandemic with a focus on housing, food security, mobility & transportation, economic security, education & childcare, and sustainable infrastructure.
Food security is a basic need and a human right, however Louisiana has struggled to address these needs for decades, consistently experiencing some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the country. In 2021, Feeding America estimates that 17% of Louisianans, including 26% of children continue to experience food insecurity, despite some economic recovery from the pandemic. Investing in our emergency food systems that work to connect individuals with food and financial resources is critical to decreasing food insecurity and increasing quality of life for thousands of Louisianans. We urge policymakers to prioritize food security by:
> Allocating $3 million for partner agency grants to allow food pantries to increase their infrastructure capacity to accept and store local perishable and frozen goods.
> Allocating $3 million for food banks to purchase food from Louisiana growers, producers, and manufacturers.
Feeding Louisiana Executive Director, Korey Patty explains, “The recent federal funding gives Louisiana a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in addressing so many of the foundational issues impacting its residents. Alleviating poverty and its manifestations, such as food and housing insecurity, and improving the systems that move people out of poverty is a critical need for the state. These types of long-term investments will pay dividends for Louisiana and its residents for years to come.”
We call on our lawmakers to prioritize people over businesses, so that together we can build a Louisiana that isn’t just going from recovery to recovery, but instead is thriving, resilient, and able to weather the next storm.