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Trump Budget Could Fuel Rise In Food-Insecurity, Advocates Warn

Masahiro Ihara
Flickr Creative Commons

Advocates from anti-hunger groups say President Donald Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal would hurt the neediest Ohioans most. The president’s budget would boost spending for the Pentagon and make a down payment on a United States-Mexico border wall, while cutting funds for many domestic programs, including anti-poverty programs that help needy families across the Miami Valley.

Credit Masahiro Ihara / Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr Creative Commons

The Trump administration’s budget would make cuts to a dozen federal agencies. The Associated Press reports the biggest losers are the departments of Agriculture, Labor, State, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The department of Health and Human Services would also see cuts. So would a long list programs designed to help struggling people in rural and urban communities.

These include low-income heating assistance programs, school aid for rural communities and help for homeless veterans.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, says the budget cuts will also directly impact Ohioans who rely on emergency food pantries to help feed their families each month.

The state has among the highest food-insecurity rates in the country.

“One in six Ohioans are struggling to meet their basic food needs,” she says. “Seven years out from the end of the Great Recession, we are continuing to experience elevated rates of hunger, food insecurity and poverty in our community and the Trump proposal will only increase food insecurity, hunger, poverty and suffering among our most vulnerable.”

The Foodbank association provides emergency food for an estimated 70,000 Ohioans a year. At least 40 percent of the households include children under 18-years-old.

According to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties, at least half of Ohio residents who need emergency food assistance are working. Nearly 70 percent must choose between buying food and medical care. 

The Associated Press reports failure to reach a budget agreement could result in a government shutdown, an outcome that cost the government and economy billions of dollars in 2013. 

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Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.