Don’t cut food bank’s budget

State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, and the rest of the Ohio Senate should not tinker with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks portion of the state budget submitted by Gov. John Kasich and approved in the Ohio House.

That means not cutting the $12.5 million the budget would provide. It also means not adding the $5 million requested by the food banks.

Kasich’s executive budget revised in the House protects the state funding in the two-year plan. This allows the 12 regional food banks, including the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, and the nearly 3,300 food pantries and soup kitchens, including many in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, to continue their mission unabated.

In 2012, the food banks served more than one in five Ohioans, or 2.32 million people, a 46 percent increase from three years earlier. Among the services is the Ohio Food Program and Agricultural Clearance Program, which directs surplus and unmarketable agricultural products from more than 100 Ohio farmers and producers to needy Ohio families.

Last year, the food banks distributed about 160 million pounds of food. Recipients included 316,000 senior citizens and 832,000 children.

The work must continue, which is why steady state funding is so important. Ongoing efforts to augment government support with private sector donations and services should also continue so that state spending increases are avoided.[TABULATED_DATA]