Food banks in Ohio feel relief as a state budget compromise restores additional funding

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB/Report for America) — A conference committee has restored some additional funding for Ohio food banks in the state’s upcoming two-year budget.

The House had given the Ohio Association of Foodbanks an additional $15 million in its version of the biennial budget, but the Senate’s version cut that funding and imposed restrictions on other food programs.

The House rejected the Senate’s budget and the bill went to a conference committee. The committee on Friday released its reconciled budget, which includes a $6 million funding increase and removes restrictions on SNAP and school meal support.

Food items available at the Mobile food bank site in Gallia County
Workers at a mobile food bank site in Gallia County wait to distribute items. [Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB | Report for America]
“I am just incredibly grateful and honestly very relieved,” said Eva Bloom of the Southeast Ohio Foodbank.

Bloom said she has been anxiously awaiting the final budget draft all week. Losing all the added funding would have been a major blow to state food banks, which are struggling to keep shelves stocked amid rising inflation and a decrease in federal food assistance.

That in turn hurts low-income families. A growing number are relying on food banks and food pantries because they cannot pay grocery store prices.

“Without this, those folks would really have no other options,” Bloom said.

The budget bill passed both chambers Friday. Both chambers also passed a three day extension on the budget.

It now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the state allocated $30 million for food banks instead of $39 million, as was originally reported.