Area food bank leaders talk 'explosive' food insecurities with Neguse

·2 min read

Aug. 5—Almost a dozen representatives from Boulder County and Broomfield County food bank agencies sat down with U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse on Thursday at the Community Food Share in Louisville to offer their concerns and perspectives about the surge in hunger and food insecurity.

After listening to the burden of supply chain issues, inadequate infrastructure, rising operating costs, reduction in services and programs, surging inflation and explosive needs, Neguse told attendees that he was there to take their conversation back to Washington, D.C., and continue to educate the public about the post-pandemic food crisis he has witnessed across the state.

Neguse visited the Community Food Share two years ago during what he called an acute challenge in the community at the height of pandemic-fueled food crisis.

"At that time it was readily apparent to most of the public and certainly to policymakers that food security was a real challenge, and there was a proportionate response," the congressman said. "It's unfortunate to be back here two years later for what is arguably a bigger crisis (than) what we experienced during COVID."

In July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 9.1% increase in the Consumer Price Index between June 2021 and June 2022, the largest 12-month increase since the 12-month period ending in November 1981.

"We are all experiencing this explosion of need," said Kim Da Silva, chief executive officer at Community Food Share. "We're seeing new people we've not seen even during the pandemic."

Da Silva also said to Neguse, "This just didn't go away because the pandemic ended. The pandemic didn't end, people just got sick of it, so we just stopped talking about it. Now we're in this inflationary market and families need $450 more a month than we did a year ago, to do the same thing. Food should not be a barrier to success, and I ask you to really work hard to remember that when you're in front of people who can make those changes."

Neguse assured the roundtable members his office is working to take "tangible" steps in Congress to address supply chain issues, the inflationary crisis impacting food and fuel costs as well as collateral cost increases that impact everyday life. He also said he was keenly aware of the need for "systemic reforms in the farm bill."

"You've all given me good homework, this is exactly what I was hoping for," Neguse told the roundtable before touring the food bank warehouse. "Most of all, our door is always open."