SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCREVIEW THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP OF FOOD BANKS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1997
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Department Operations,
Nutrition, and Foreign Agriculture,
Committee on Agriculture,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:40 a.m., in room 1300, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Bob Goodlatte (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Thune, Clayton, and Berry.
Staff present: Lynn Gallagher, senior professional staff; Kevin Kramp, subcommittee staff director; Brian Hard, Callista Bisek, Wanda Worsham, clerk; and Julia Paradis, minority deputy counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GOODLATTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA
Mr. GOODLATTE. Good morning. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Nutrition, and Foreign Agriculture to review the public-private partnership of food banks will now come to order.
I'd like to begin by offering an opening statement, and then we'll hear from the ranking member, Mrs. Clayton of North Carolina.
The purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony and written statements concerning food banks and the participation of the private sector in the delivery of food assistance. In this town the phrase, ''public-private partnership'' is popular. Many legislators and administrators use it to describe the model from which they want to create or revise a program to address the need of the day. They use the phrase, but usually stop short of explaining what the phrase means or how they intended to create a public-private partnership. The panelists we have assembled today will describe how these partnerships have been created for food assistance programs and why they are effective.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is unfortunate that there is a need for food banks. Even though our farmers and ranchers are the most productive and efficient in the world, the need for food banks continues. Many of the folks we will hear from today are in the business of meeting the needs of the less fortunate in our communities and in some cases the needs of the food retailing industry. By all accounts, they are doing a wonderful job for both.
Food banks often meet the needs of their communities by managing donations from the Government and the private sector. Most Government donations are the product of TEFAP, an acronym for The Emergency Food Assistance Program. It is a unique program that has the ability to provide nutritious, domestic agriculture products to needy Americans while at the same time providing support to the agriculture community. Last year's welfare reform bill changed TEFAP to a $100 million-per-year mandatory program through the year 2002. Congress made TEFAP commodity purchases mandatory because of the integral role this program has in the provisions of food assistance to needy families.
Purchases by TEFAP also provide much-needed support to the agriculture community. While other food assistance programs are much larger, TEFAP has a more direct impact for agriculture producers, while at the same time providing food for those in need.
TEFAP only accounts, on average, for 25 percent of the food that food banks dispense to the needy. By in large, the private sector quietly makes up the difference. In preparation for this hearing, I learned that the private sector organizations and companies have different policies and practices concerning their philanthropic actions. Instead of trying to summarize the various ways private companies and groups donate to food banks, we will hear from representatives of the private sector to explain how their companies or member companies donate food to food banks.
I look forward to hearing the witnesses' testimony today. We have assembled uniquely-qualified witnesses that will provide insight into the participation of the private sector in the delivery of food assistance.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would now like to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, Mrs. Clayton of North Carolina.
STATEMENT OF HON. EVA M. CLAYTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Chairman, this is a very important hearing. I am pleased to be here this morning to discuss the public-private partnership of food banksa concept in which I believe very strongly. I regret that the schedule prevents me from being able to remain throughout the hearing.
Food banks have provided basic nutritional needs and food products to millions of needy persons for many years using the various commodity programs coupled with private contributions. Food banks have the unique advantage of providing opportunities for public-private partnerships in support and administration. They are relatively easy to establish and are cost-efficient.
There are several models of food banks throughout the country; two exciting programs are represented here today. My local church started its food bank several years ago. We certainly need to continue the opportunity for such programs, because it has been an essential part of the safety net which is critically needed, given the substantial cuts in food stamps and welfare assistance to the very poor.
At this particular time, with some time having passed after the implementation of last year's welfare reform, it is critical that we look at food banks and the role they currently play.
Thirty years ago, Bobby Kennedy awakened our Nation by focusing the Nation's spotlight on the plight of many impoverished Americans who were hungry. There was action. We must remain vigilant, for the needs continue. The late Bill Emerson demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to feed the hungry. Last Congress, we, Democrats and Republicans, agreed that our welfare system needed reform; however, we disagreed on how best to revamp welfare, and while I and many others fought cuts in food assistance and cuts in food stamps in this very committee and in the House floor on behalf of Americans in needthe elderly, the sick, the poorwe eventually lost that effort. However, we will continue to fight to feed the hungry people because we think that it is our commitment.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 1996 that 36.4 million Americans lived in poverty, 13.8 percent of our total population. Hunger is a situation brought on by poverty. Most of those who live at or below poverty line do not have the resources to obtain nutritional meals or to provide for healthy life. Hunger is a preventable and curable condition. According to the Food Research and Action Center, there is a direct correlation between a person's level of income and the nutritional adequacy of their diet.
Nutrition programs such as food banks in many cases provide the only nutritious food that millions of our Nation's poor receive on a daily basis. Many of those I am speaking aboutfar too manyare working people, those working in America still struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford to feed their families.
One-fifth of the families receiving food stamps are working families who have gross incomes below the poverty level. Of the 27 million people served by food stamps, 51 percent are children; 7 percent are elderly. I am concerned that in our zeal to balance the budget and welfare reform, that our Nation's leaders may also keep in mind what our priorities to the people of this country are. I contend that, without significant increases in the funding allotted to help the poor and the reinforcement of a barely existing safety net, hunger will continue.
Our economy is robust; however, this windfall has not helped the poorest of the poor in this country, as the gap between the rich and the poor has widened considerably. In 1995, the Census reported that the aforementioned gap is larger than ever before since World War II.
Despite the best efforts of our last four Presidents and thousands and thousands of volunteerswho recently talked about volunteerscharitable entities such as food banks, here and at my church, soup kitchens cannot take up the slack. Much more is needed.
Less than 3 percent of the budget is targeted for feeding the hungry. It has been estimated by the United Way that from 1982 to 1994 there were $42 billion in cuts to Federal programs. After adjusting that figure for inflation, charitable giving in that same period of time made up only 7 percent of the Federal funds cut, $2.9 billion. It has been documented, even with our best efforts, we cannot put that entire burden on the private sector.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am delighted to see the testimony from the private sectors, the Food Marketing Institute and the Food Distributors International, and look forward to their discussion. I am pleased, also, to welcome Shirley Watkins, the Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition and Consumer Services and to learn of the proposed summit in food recovery and gleaning.
There is a leading question here, and it is: Can we, in Congress, shift the entire or the largest share of the burden of feeding, in this prosperous country, the hungry to the private or what we call the non-profit sector? I believe it is absolutely impossibleI have had charitable organizationschurch organizationssay they cannot respond to the large load that they now have. So, we must remind ourselves that the Government has a remedy, and we should have a substantial part in that.
While I salute the innovation of public and private partnerships and have started it myself and recognize here in this city that the corporate entities that are involved and feed the hunger, particularly from the hotel industry, I recognize they cannot do it alone. Therefore, I think Government, and not the private sector, has the largest part of the remedy and for us to fall back from that position is to be derelict of our responsibilities.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mrs. Clayton.
Does the gentleman from Arkansas have any opening statement you would like to make?
Mr. BERRY. Just briefly, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Mr. GOODLATTE. The gentleman is recognized.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MARION BERRY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARKANSAS
Mr. BERRY. I appreciate very much holding these hearings, and I also want to welcome my former colleagues from the Department of Agriculture, and friends, and it's good to see you hear today.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Anytime we get into a discussion about hunger, I'm always reminded of when I went to school. In elementary school I lived in rural Arkansas and grew up in rural Arkansas. We went to a two-room school and had four grades in each room, and each row was a grade, and by the time you were in the fourth grade you had already heard that four times, so you almost had to remember some of it, but it was a very rural and poor situation, and there was no such thing as a school lunch program or any other kind of feeding program that I'm aware of at that point for those particular people. And every day, nearly, a child would get spanked by the teacher for chewing paper, and I don't knowthere's probably not hardly anyone in this room but me remembers a big chief tablet that we used to have to write on, and it was old, coarse paper, and I tried chewing that paper, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why those kids kept chewing that paper, because it didn't taste good, and there was nothing very good about it.
After I became an adult, I realized what the problem was: they were hungry, and after my realization of that, feeding programs have become very special to me, and I think it's a good thing that we're talking about a public-private partnership in this committee and ways to take care of problems like this, but for the richest country in the world to ever think that a child would be that hungry again distresses me a great deal. So I appreciate what this committee's doing, and I thank you all for being here.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Berry.
If other memebrs of the subcommitte have statements to submit, they may be included at this point.
The prepared statements of Chairman Smith, Mr. Cooksey, Mrs. Clayton, and Mr. Farr follow:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. GOODLATTE. We now have our first panel, and we are pleased to welcome Shirley Watkins, the Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Under Secretary Watkins, this is the first time you've been before the committee, and I've had the pleasure of meeting you before, and we certainly look forward to working with you on many issues that you are very, very involved with at the Department. So you're welcomed today, and you may proceed when you're ready.
STATEMENT OF SHIRLEY WATKINS, UNDER SECRETARY FOR FOOD, NUTRITION, AND CONSUMER SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Ms. WATKINS. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and thank you very much, Mrs. Clayton and Mr. Berry. I'm Shirley Watkins, the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the Department of Agriculture, and I am pleased this morning to have joining me the new Administrator for Food and Consumer Services, Yvette Jackson, and the Special Nutrition Programs Deputy Administrator, Ed Cooney, and Les Johnson, who is Director of the Commodity Distribution Division for FCS.
I'm pleased to be here today to discuss the public-private partnership of food banks and USDA's role with respect to food banks and soup kitchens. I'm particularly delighted that this is my first hearing since my Senate confirmation as Under Secretary.
This administration made a commitment at the World Food Summit to cut in half the number of hungry people in this country by 2015; this is only a temporary goal, and I must repeat that: This is only a temporary goal. What we are really working toward is eliminating hunger altogether. As you can imagine that is quite a task, but we have our sleeves rolled up, and we are prepared to take on this challenge.
We realize, of course, that we cannot do this alone. Government does have a major role, just as Mrs. Clayton said, but we also work at building partnerships with the private sector. We are bringing everyone to the table: large corporations, small businesses, faith-based groups, labor unions, professional organizations, elected officials from all levels of Government, people in agriculture and in transportation, community service groups, anti-hunger activists, and anyone else with an interest in contributing time or resources in the fight against hunger.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm happy to let this subcommittee know that next Monday and Tuesday, September 15 and 16, USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, in partnership with the Congressional Hunger Center, Food Chain, Second Harvest, and the Chef and Child Foundation, will be hosting the First National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning here in Washington DC. I did bring copies of the program for you today and would hope that you can join us. You've also received invitations, and Mr. Chairman, I hope you and the entire subcommittee will be able to participate with us.
There will also be over 50 local sites throughout the Nation participating through live satellite broadcasts and other related events. Many of these events and sites will also engage in facilitated discussions and sponsor food recovery and gleaning community service projects locally as well as workshop sessions. If you can't join us at the summit, we encourage you to join us as the Secretary and I go to one of the farms for a gleaning opportunity.
As you know, a recent USDA study estimates that more than one-quarter of all food produced in the Nation is wasted. The study was prepared by the USDA Economic Research Services, ERS, the first study of its kind in 20 years to examine and quantify food loss found that in 1995 about 96 billion pounds of food, or 27 percent of the 356 billion pounds of the food available for human consumption in the United States, were lost at the retail, consumer, and food services levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, grain products, and sweeteners accounted for two-thirds of these losses.
Unfortunately, in the past there has been a hesitancy to recover much of this food, as citizen volunteers and potential corporate donors were rightfully concerned about putting themselves at legal risk. However, thanks to this committee's efforts and especially that of the late Representative Bill Emerson as well as Representative Pat Danner, President Clinton last year signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act into law. The act is designed to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks, and churches for distribution to needy individuals. The act creates a uniform minimum level of protection from liability for donors to instances of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. State good samaritan statutes may also provide protection above and beyond that guaranteed in the Federal statute.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With this risk barrier removed, we have a great opportunity to develop even more public-private partnerships as we work toward our goal of eliminating hunger. In the foreword to our Citizen's Guide to Food Recovery, Secretary Glickman states, ''strong Federal programs are essential, but Government alone cannot solve the problem of hunger in America, and we need your help.''
Next week's summit has a concrete goal of beginning the development of a specific plan to eventually help feed over 450,000 additional hungry Americans each day by gleaning and food recovery. The summit also will help us expand the growing national movement to use food recovery in the United States as an inexpensive means of helping to feed the hungry. It will begin the process of developing a comprehensive national plan of public-private partnerships to implement a 33 percent increase by the year 2000 of the amount of food annually recovered and distributed through various emergency food assistance programs, primarily food banks, to Americans who are in need.
During the second day of the summitand that's on Tuesdaywe'll have workshops that will be conducted to share ideas that will help people overcome some of the barriers. Among the issues to be discussed are creative, non-traditional methods of transportation and distribution as well as storage and handling of perishables. Workshops will also provide technical assistance on issues such as safety and sanitation.
The summit will issue a call for action to every sector of American society, individuals as well as institutions, to make real measurable commitments to fight hunger. We know that the Federal commitment, the Federal Government will always have a critical role in helping low-income Americans, but public-private food recovery partnerships need to be the one tool to help supplement the traditional Federal role.
At USDA's Food and Consumer Services, we will be encouraging our school partners to donate leftover food from breakfast and lunch to local non-profit organizations serving the needy. Schools can provide a viable option for food recovery, especially during extended holidays, semester breaks, and at the end of the school year.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm also pleased, Mr. Chairman, to announce today that for the first time at FCS there will be a position of Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning. We created that position so that there will be a coordination of work of all Federal agencies involved in the Interagency Task Force on Food Recovery to Feed the Hungry, coordination of an internal USDA Food Recovery and Gleaning Task Fork, and to generally determine and implement ways the Federal Government can aid national and local efforts to recover excess food and distribute that to the hungry.
TEFAP is administered by USDA's Food and Consumer Service to provide supplementary food to low-income households. Most of this food is distributed through the Nation's food bank network.
During the current fiscal year, $125 million is available for food and an additional $45 million for administrative funds to operate TEFAP. States are allowed to use the administrative funds to support local food recovery and gleaning operations and/or they can request that, in lieu of part or all of their administrative funding, they receive an equal amount of commodities. We know that individual States can best determine what is best for them and what their greatest needs are. Therefore, we have given States the flexibility to target resources where they can do the most good, both in terms of their geographical areas and the type of assistance that they wish to provide. As an example of that would be the distribution of commodities for low-income household consumption and/or institutional meal service for the needy.
States also are being encouraged to form advisory boards comprised of representatives of local and private organizations interested in TEFAP to advise the States on benefit targeting. USDA is also continuing to improve the commodities that we have available through TEFAP and the food banks in reducing fat, sodium, and sugar. We are also working very hard to make a wide range of nutritious and popular foods available including those that are rich in protein.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and the subcommittee in our effort to reduce and eliminate hunger. USDA's Food Recovery Summit is only the first step; improving our food bank public-private partnerships is another. Our feeding programs are the cornerstone for reaching our goals and improving nutrition and health for Americans, and, together, all of our efforts will make a difference.
This concludes my formal testimony, Mr. Chairman, and I'd be delighted to answer any questions that you and the members may have at this time. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Watkins appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Under Secretary Watkins, and let me thank you for your testimony and commend you for the National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning that you're going to be conducting next week at the Department. I hope it's a great success, and I am probably not going to get there, because I have quite a schedule in my district, that we had put in place quite a long time ago. However, I'll consider these hearings to be a preamble to your summit, and we may offer this as our contribution to call attention to the good work the Department is doing and so many others are doing in the area of food recovery and gleaning, because it is a tremendous resource that we've only tapped a small, small portion of, and there are a lot of people who can receive a lot of food if we can learn how to become more sophisticated in our ways of managing that food that so often goes to waste today.
Let me ask you, as the new Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, in addition to that summit, are there new programs that you will implement to promote private sector assistance and the delivery of food assistance?
Ms. WATKINS. Yes, Mr. Chairman, and we do have a consumer advisor who is going to be working to boost our efforts and bridge efforts across communities around the country. We will be having some summits around the country to work on our partnerships, so we do have some plans, and we have a committee that the Secretary has asked me to chair on hunger and nutrition initiatives, and we're working throughout the Department on that effort. So we should have a game plan real soon to present to the Secretary from that group that's working now. We are working aggressively on these efforts to build our fight against hunger in this country.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Good. Well, be sure to keep us posted as well on your plans and your progress, and let us know how we can be of assistance to you.
Are there currently programs that you would like to change?
Ms. WATKINS. That's a good question, Mr. Chairman, and obviously the staff and I will be looking at that, and we do have someone who is going to be working with us on all of the nutrition issues and efforts, and I will come back to you and let you know what those program changes are that I'd like to propose. I don't think it would be appropriate at this time for me to tell you all of those things that I'd like to do, because the staff hasn't concurred with me yet, but as soon as I get their concurrence, I'll be glad to come back and share that with you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, good. We will look forward to that, and if you have suggestions for proposals that this committee can consider that will encourage more private sector in the delivery of food assistance programs, please let us know about that too, because we are anxious to be of assistance.
I wonder if you could take a minute and describeor perhaps somebody's who's there with youdescribe how the gleaning process works for those who may not be aware of it.
Ms. WATKINS. The gleaning process across the country works when aI'll just give you an example of a farm community. If a farmer is working his crop and he has harvested his crop and there is food left in the field, then we go in; we're notified by our sister agency in CSREES in the Extension Service, and they notify us of what is left in that field to be gleaned. And a food bank, for example, in Arizona was able to go and get the rest in the form of cabbage, broccoli, or melons, and then those food items were then distributed to the food bank for further distribution to all of the agencies served by that particular food bank. If it's the restaurant business, then those restaurants who have food left over, or if it's an organization that has a convention and there's a reception, a large reception, and there's food left over, those foods, then, are sent to the nearest food bank or soup kitchen and served as soon as possible, considering the safety factors of foods. So, you had one instance of a farm community; one of restaurants; one where you may have conventions, and those foods are distributed to food banks. So that's an example of what the gleaning is all about.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I was in Memphis and head of the school district in Memphis, at the end of the school year or long breaks we sent food to the food banks that were taken from school cafeterias. Particularly important to us at that point, and serving on the board of the Memphis food bank, was that we could make use of those food items that were left from the schools. So, that's just an example of what gleaning is about, and how it's being utilized, and how we are encouraging people to use gleaning efforts.
It may be a football stadium. A good example is what happens at the end of the Superbowl, when all of the festivities are over and all of the receptions; all of that food, then, is sent to a soup kitchen or food bank wherever the Superbowl is held. So, those are just classic examples of what the gleaning operation is all about.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Madam Under Secretary, and I'll now ask if the ranking Democrat on the committee, Mrs. Clayton, has any questions.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Thank you. Thank you for your testimony, and I also want to join the Chair in wishing you a successful summit, and we're going to see whether our schedules can be adjusted to see, if possible, some of it.
I was struck and I've seen an exciting program; you're going to be visiting the D.C. kitchen, and I happened to have had, I guess, on a couple of occasions, another directive, and then was invited once and I came back again to see two things, not just the gleaning, but in this instance, he had taken a shelter and gotten the food from the restaurants. They also would teach persons who would come for receiving the free food, skills, culinary skills, so they, indeed, could perhaps have a skill that they could earn their foods and wouldn't have to rely on that. I thought that was a unique project, and I'm not surein fact, I had asked him to go to Charlotte. Charlotte's not my district, but Charlotte was the largest city in North Carolina, and they had expressed some interest, and we were trying to network with them, so that theyagain, you're talking about the football stadium; the Carolina Panthers are there, and the Panthers wanted to be engaged in that process, and I guess the Marriott Hotels were also trying to get in.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you know if there are other programs like the D.C. kitchen where they're not only taking the food in recovery and feeding the people, but taking the food from sometimes the shelves from these places, training those individuals who will receive food, who may come to the shelter on a regular basis?
Ms. WATKINS. The D.C. Central Kitchen is a model project, and I am not awarethere may be others around the country doing the same thing. I'm not aware that there are others; it may be.
Mr. COONEY. They have a grant from the Marriott Corporation, to go around the country to do job training
Mrs. CLAYTON. Marriott puts the money into training the people?
Mr. COONEY. Yes.
Mrs. CLAYTON. OK. Are they Marriott staff people?
Mr. COONEY. It's done by grant.
Mrs. CLAYTON. I see.
Well, that was an exciting program, if we can find models like that, because obviously we learn from people who dare try.
I'm hopeful that the proceedings from your summit that they will be shared with this committee. I gather the workshopswill some of those be recorded thatif we missed them, that we could benefit from those?
Ms. WATKINS. We certainly will make that available to this committee.
Mrs. CLAYTON. I think the committee would like to have those, wouldn't we, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. GOODLATTE. Yes, we certainly would welcome that.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLAYTON. Also, I don't knowI know that the commodities programs of the TEFAP provides essentially the Government's portion of food stamps and the food bank as well as shelf food and soup kitchens. Tell me, what's the list of those commodities? Do you know those off-hand? If not, could you give us what those food products are and if they change?
Ms. WATKINS. It is a long list, and
Mrs. CLAYTON. Well, just share with the committee then.
Ms. WATKINS. Things like fruits and vegetables, green beans, green peas, ground beef, fruits and vegetables would be included in that list, peanut butter, dried figs, prunes, raisins.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Fresh fruits or dried fruits?
Ms. WATKINS. These are all canned products.
Mrs. CLAYTON. OK, canned products.
Ms. WATKINS. While those are the TEFAP commodities, one of the things I did not mention that we do and as another method of gleaning and food recovery is in partnership with many of the produce houses around the country. In Chicago, there is a large produce operation that provides the foods to Second Harvest and to food banks, and I'm sure you're going to hear more about that. And with the farmers' markets that we have at USDA, Labor, and Energy, the foods left over from those farmers' markets are sent to the D.C. Central Kitchen. So we are encouraging all of the farmers' markets around the country to do the same thing. So, while we don't do fresh fruits and vegetables now for them, that perhaps is something that we can look at.
Les just reminded me that the administrative money that is given through TEFAP is used for transportation for much of the produce that goes into the food banks or soup kitchens.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLAYTON. Is there an effort to encourage the food chain? I know that we will hear testimony, I think, which is a conglomerate of the food chain, but there is effort to encourage them to get engaged in their local area? I was told that Giant Foods is involved with the D.C. Kitchen, and there may be some others. Do you know?
Ms. WATKINS. Yes, they are, and we are encouraging all of the grocery stores, major grocery stores around the country to participate and contacts have been made with them. We'll also provide for this committee the list of organizations and companies who are already participating with us and those that we think will be potential sponsors or cooperators with us.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mrs. CLAYTON. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mrs. Clayton. The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Berry.
Mr. BERRY. As we talk about the gleaning process, it seems that that food is handled outside the normal channels of our food-handling system in this country, and I wonder if any special instructions or preparation or consideration is given to the safety of that food after it's decided that their regional preparer or user is not going to use it? Is there any focus being placed on that?
Ms. WATKINS. Mr. Berry, I'm glad you asked that question, because we are focusing on food safety and sanitation, and that's one of the sessions that we have planned for the summit. We think that that's very critical, and one of the reasons that people were hesitantnot only the legal constraints in participating in food recovery and gleaningwas the food safety and sanitation factor. That's something that we have to be extremely, extremely careful of to make certain that no one is ever perceiving that that food is unsafe and would not be healthful. And those are the kinds of issues that will be raised at the summit, so that people understand what kinds of training they need to ensure the quality of the food is good. Safety of the food is an issue. So, that is an issue that will be taken up as a training part. And one of the things that we will continue to work on as a technical assistance piece is safety and sanitation.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BERRY. Will these folks that handle this food be under the same regulations as normal processors and preparers that the Department oversees now?
Ms. WATKINS. Yes, we hope to accomplish this in the future.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Does the gentleman have additional questions?
Mr. BERRY. I'm sorry, Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. I do have some additional questions, so we'll do another round, and it may prompt some other questions.
Under Secretary Watkins, this committee prides itself on our efforts to promote, support, and fully fund the Emergency Food Assistance Program. My predecessor as chairman of this subcommittee, the late Bill Emerson, was a very, very strong proponent of the program, and I am working hard to follow in his footsteps, and we struggle each year to see that these funds aren't raided to make up for shortfalls in other agriculture programs when the Appropriations subcommittee funds the program. This year, we were fortunate in making sure that the $100 million level of funding was maintained.
I'm wondering if you could speak on behalf of the Clinton administration regarding the administration's commitment to full funding for TEFAP.
Ms. WATKINS. Obviously, we want to make certain in this administration that we are able to have the available funds to feed hungry people, and we are committed to full funding for TEFAP.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Good. Does the USDA employ a TEFAP targeting advisory board similar to those that the States are being urged to form?
Ms. WATKINS. I didn't understand your question. Would you mind repeating it, please?
Mr. GOODLATTE. The question is, does the Department employ a TEFAP targeting advisory board? A number of the States are being urged to form these.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WATKINS. We don't have one at the Federal level if that's what you're asking. I would be glad to look at that as an opportunity.
Mr. GOODLATTE. You might want to share your thoughts on that, once you have an opportunity to look into it further, and certainly the staff of the subcommittee would be happy to give you some further background on that as well.
I'm also interested in your mention that the USDA is looking to improve the nutrition factor of commodities available through TEFAP. Are there current standards set by the Department that TEFAP commodities must meet?
Ms. WATKINS. We do have standards for all of our commodities, and those are developed by Agricultural Marketing Services through AMS in cooperation with our FCS staff. So, working together we do have standards for all food products, and we are constantly reviewing those. Before our last marketing and regulatory programs, I had reviewed most of the commodity products and looked at all of the specifications for those products and had encouraged them to go back and review some additional things. So Mike Dunn and I will be working with our administrators and the staffs for both AMS and FCS to make certain that we go back and review those to ensure that those are current specifications that our customers would like for us as we purchase food products.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And do those standards apply to private donations as well as what the TEFAP funds are directly spent on?
Ms. WATKINS. Those standards would not necessarily apply. However, we would hopefully accept products that are of good quality, and we don't necessarily look at grades as we go back and look for products from gleaning or food recovery.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Is there a separate set of standards?
Ms. WATKINS. Well, there are a variety of standards for procurement, and people use a variety of standards based on what the product is going to be used for; how they are going to bewhat the intended use is. There are just a whole gambit of standards that you use in food procurement, and we don't necessarily require that they meet our standards.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Does the gentlelady from North Carolina have any additional questions?
Mrs. CLAYTON. Well, I do. I think one of the questions that the chairman raised did cause me to reflect on the policy issue that was raised on the CRS, which we had in our background materials, and that is indeed the mandatorybefore we had the $100 millionobviously, TEFAP is in discretionary and he was correct in stating that Representative Emerson fought to love the program; he loved TEFAP, but I would say also he loved other programs too. So I want to make sure we understand, and I want to make that emphasis is that TEFAP should be funded, and I think we should be committed to it. I don't think it ought to be an ''either or.'' This program is importantwhether it costs $100 million, I'm not able to say I know absolutely, but whatever the sufficiency of keeping it, we ought to find a way to do it, but we should not do it thinking that we are responding to all the need, although this is an excellent opportunity to do that.
Now, I know I have been visited by many external as well as internal about even increasing TEFAP further, and that may be possible, because the policy question is indeed: Is that the best way to spend the money, given $16 billion that was cut out of food stamps? I think you have to begin to put all of these things on the table to begin to develop a policy issue, and I'm notI don't want you to try to create a policy now, but I hope there is some deliberation in the process of maintaining this program.
It is a good program. It ought to be expanded for good reason. It provides a private and public sector to maximize their effort, and, therefore, we get fantastic results. The D.C. Kitchen is a great example.
Again, I hope there is not discussion that this program is going to substitute for other programs. There are millions of school children who are hungry every day, and there are millions of senior citizens who are suffering. So, to suggest that this program gets to be the one that has a sole responsibility I think it's unfair to TEFAP. So, if the policy discussion is beginning to emerge in that direction, I'm hoping that we will begin to have some balance and that we'll have an opportunity to engage in that discussion.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if you want to comment, I'm certainly open to that, but I was just trying to share with the committee, as well as with you, that I think TEFAP is important; it does an enormously good job. I'm personally involved with the food banks. My churches know that it'speople of faith, as I am, worldwide we are engaged in this, but we need to make sure that in this Government we have a commitment to feeding the hungry. And this Member will constantly remind all that this Nation is great because of its compassion, and when we fail to understand that, we ought to be just as committed to feeding the hungry as we are defending its borders. The security and the well-being of his children, the viability of its senior citizens, is just as vital as the security of our borders.
I want to make that plea one of my lasting pleas here. It's not an ''either or.'' We want to support this great program. We want to expand it. I'm busy now trying to get a model in North Carolina of D.C. Kitchen; expand it, but please, that would be a travesty, if we are beginning to dump all of the feeding opportunity and needs on this very excellent program, to think that we have solved the problem.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I would join the gentlewoman in efforts to increase the funding for this program, and perhaps we can work together to
Mrs. CLAYTON. But not as an excusenot at the expense of other
Mr. GOODLATTE. No, notwell, I'll have to see what the others are, but certainly there are other programs that I do not want to cut in order to fund this.
Sometimes we do have to make priorities.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Yes. That's right. Mr. Chairman, I guess that's my plea, is that, you know, we have the baby who is hungry; we have the senior who is hungry, and we have people who come to my church to the food bank who are hungry, and I am not of the mind that this country needs to make that kind of decision. I personally think it's immoral to have the decision to take away from children or the seniors in order to do one, when we are so enormously wealthy. It says something about the character of this country.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, we certainly can work together in that direction.
I'm going to exercise a point of personal privilege here by recognizing some guests who've just arrived. I'm pleased that we have a number of folks from the Harrisonburg, Rockingham Chamber of Commerce who are visiting us, and Rockingham County is the largest agricultural producing county in the State of Virginia. So, when the Chamber of Commerce comes, agricultural issues are certainly of foremost concern to them, and we welcome all of you and we hope you have a great day in Washington, and I'll be with you again later in the day.
Does the gentleman from Arkansas have any additional questions?
Mr. BERRY. No, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. If you don't have any objection, I do have one more that I'd like to ask, and I think it's another good topic that we might want to touch on.
Madam Under Secretary, over the years, many school districts have complained about USDA food donations. As a former school lunch program director, what is your opinion of the USDA food distributed to school lunch programs?
Ms. WATKINS. Mr. Chairman, I think we have made marked improvements in the Commodity Distribution Program. That's not to say that it's top quality as we would like to see it. We still have some work to do, and we're going to continue to work on improving the commodities that we are providing in our food assistance programs. We still have some work to do, and we're going to work on that, but I think we've made marked improvements over where we were 10 years ago.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, thank you, and I thank you and all of the other members of your staff for coming down and contributing today, and we will welcome the input of the information that Mrs. Clayton requested, and, again, my offer to be of assistance to you in any way possible stands open, and we appreciate your time today.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WATKINS. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. We appreciate both you and the subcommittee working with us, and we pledge our commitment to work fully with you as we reinvent all of the food assistance programs that we're responsible for. Thank you very much.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, and the committee will stand in recess until 1:00 p.m., when we take up the second and third panel of witnesses who are going to testify on this issue.
Again, I thank you all for participating, and those who can, we'll see back at 1 o'clock.
Mr. THUNE [presiding]. I'd like to reconvene this hearing. I might add, we'd like to thank both of you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today, and would invite you, Congressman Baker, to start when you're ready.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD H. BAKER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
Mr. BAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the courtesy of the subcommittee and certainly want to express my appreciation to Congressman Cooksey for having brought this matter to the committee's attention.
It was not long ago the Congressman and the Speaker of the House, with other members of the Louisiana delegation, came to Baton Rouge and toured the Baton Rouge food bank. They were appropriately impressed with the success of the operation, and suggested that it might be appropriate for us to come to the committee and make known the elements of the operation, perhaps with the understanding that the Baton Rouge food bank could become a model for other communities in utilizing valuable resources to meet important public needs.
What is perhaps most clear to me in the growth and dynamic success of the Baton Rouge food bank is the public-private partnerships that have resulted that really enabled it to succeed beyond all expectations. I'd like to say a word about A&P Grocers, as well as the AG stores in Louisiana, who have joined together contractually with the food bank in providing enormous resources that have enabled this operation to serve the needs of over 3,200 people per day at the Baton Rouge food bank. Interestingly enough, enabling distribution of $11.80 of food for every dollar of operating expense, I think, are phenomenal achievements.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Important in this is a reclamation program which allows the grocer to provide safe and decent, no-hazard food for utilization by the food bank, and enables the grocer to get certain economic benefits as a result of the reclamation effort. As a result of those activities, about 95 percent of the food distributed is donated, which, I'm told, are unusual in the operations of most food bank systems.
I would like to also say a good word about Carl Stages, the executive director of the food bank, who has managed the employees of the operation quite successfully and has been there from the early days until now and should be credited to large extent with the dynamic growth we've seen.
Also, with us today, you will hear from momentarily perhaps, is Robert Brockmann, president of Southwest Service and Supply, the company that actually runs the reclamation center activities.
I am very pleased and honored to be here and would welcome the committees interest in looking at the operational details of this facility. I am sure you will find it to be of great interest. From my own perspective, my minimal contribution to this whole activity was to engage inwith others in the communitya capital campaign and help generate about $500,000 in private donations, which enabled the food bank to move into a much larger and newer facility, which expanded the operating relationships between the A&P and the AG stores, and has resulted ultimately in the large numbers of individuals being served in the Baton Rouge community. I think this is an excellent example of how public-private resources can perform perhaps much more efficiently than the tried-and-failed efforts of Government social services in the past.
So, Mr. Chairman, I commend it to you as an excellent beginning point for the work I know this committee will do. Thank you for your courtesy.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Baker appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THUNE. Mr. Cooksey.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN COOKSEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
Mr. COOKSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has an extremely successful partnership with its community to combat hunger and food waste. Its mission is to meet emergency, short-term needs of the hungry in the greater Baton Rouge area. I can tell you I have seen it, and they are certainly meeting these needs in a very effective manner.
To do this, the food bank acts as a procurement center that obtains and distributes over 2.7 million pounds of food each year to over 120 food pantries. The food bank has 95 percent of its food donated. It also has a program called the Lagniappe du Coeurand for those of you from the Dakotas, that's a Louisiana term that means ''something extra from the heart.'' This program collects leftover food from area restaurants, then packages it in single unit meals and distributes it to the shelters.
Most importantly is the number of people that the food bank assists. In 1996, 3,200 people per day were helped. Forty-four percent of those were children and 16 percent were elderly.
This program is bringing together a community of caring individuals and groups to create our State's first prepared and perishable food rescue program; and I would add, it's a food bank that has given out $4,125,000 worth of food. In 1996, the food bank also distributed $76,316.15 worth of USDA commodities. Not to mention, this was all done with a cash budget of only $396,000making it so that the food bank can distribute $11 or $12 worth of food for every dollar it receives.
I am proud to say that I was able to visit the food bank back in June and to see personally the hard work it is completing. What I saw was a partnership between public and private entities that rescued more than 489,000 pounds of food already this year; a successful campaign that raised over $500,000; and a community garden which the food bank is planting to further supplement their supply of food. This kind of hard work is a partnership that I would like to see in every communitya kind of partnership that brings together a group of volunteers to donate 21,000 hours of their own time to help their fellow citizens.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to congratulate the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for its success and to thank them for adding such a worthwhile facility to our home State of Louisiana.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cooksey appears at the end of the hearing.]
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Cooksey, and both of our panelists for the excellent testimony and obviously a model of how this all might work. I tend to be of the view, like you are, that most of these problems are better solved by way of public-private partnership cooperation. I guess I would just direct a couple of questions, and particularly at this point.
Mr. Baker, you mentioned in your testimony that the success of this program in Louisiana has a lot to do with the spirit and ingenuity of the American people coming together to solve a problem. Why do you think that individuals have been more successful in achieving this success than we as a Government have?
Mr. BAKER. I think it directly relates to the ability of the individual to see the recipients; to see the generosity of the industry; the up-close-and-personal environment, as opposed to, unfortunately in a bureaucracy, is an aloof and distant judgment made without seeing the face of the person whose life may depend on the service. I think it's the hands-on involvement, the ability to reach out and touch the person who is affected.
There's another successful story that's yet to be told about this food bank effort, and that relates to possible employment opportunities, even for recipients of assistance. The individuals we were talking momentarily of, just a brief bit ago, about the potential of making this a job center as well. Individuals who come to the food bank looking for nutritional assistance could be given opportunities to work within the food bank to help others in their community, giving them the basic skills: Showing up on time, learning what it is to earn a paycheck; thereby, enabling that trained individual to perhaps go to work at one of the grocery stores in a stocking capacity perhaps. It's an interesting thought that we're going to explore perhaps with some aggressiveness now that we've seen the success on the nutritional side.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All of this comes from the individual's personal concern about his fellow man, as opposed to a Government official who is required to perform a ministerial duty without seeing the faces of the people that are often so affected.
Mr. THUNE. Thank you. Mr. Cooksey, anything to add on that?
Mr. COOKSEY. Well, again, it works because we have caring people in Mr. Baker's district and his community, and innovative people who really care for our neighbors, our friends; and I think that's part of what makes him so effective. It's not just another heartless Government agency. It's an example of people looking out for people and that's part of the reason for its success. The Speaker, Mr. Gingrich, was there with us that day, and he travels a lot, sees a lot, and he probably was the one that said, ''Gee, this is really the absolute best program I've seen,'' and he, I think he really deserves a lot of the credit for bringing this up and bringing it to everyone's attention.
Mr. Baker's had a major role in this; I think he's downplaying his role, but most importantly, I was impressed with the people that are running the food bank. They do a wonderful job. They've brought some creativity, some innovation to this program, and it's truly very effective and it's doing a great service for the people in this community.
Mr. THUNE. Just one question I'd like to maybe get you to elaborate on a little bit. That is, what efforts are made to ensure food safety?
Mr. BAKER. Absolutely everything that is brought into the center is examined by the reclamation employees. Just a word there, not only about food safety, but this is actually an economic benefit to the grocers involved. The service is being performed for them in identifying damaged goods and making the necessary claims to the manufacturer. It turns out to be a net economic gain to the grocery side on the dollar bottom line. That's the economic fuel that makes it work, but the individuals who do the screening ensure that the containers are not open where the food contained has been inappropriately contaminated. There has not been an incident with either program of any public health hazard as a result of this successful operation. Remember, we're touching 3,200 people a day. Few restaurants could have such a success ratio. We're dealing with packaged, slightly damaged, but otherwise wholesome, nutritional food, and getting it into the hands of people who need it.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THUNE. One of the things I think that hopefully we get out of all this is to try and determine what, if any, role Congress might play in helping see that this model is replicated elsewhere in the country. Are there things in your mindand again, this is obviously an example of the private sector working cooperatively with the, in some sense, the Government. Is there anything you can see that Congress might be able to do legislatively to further entice donationsI mean, both monetarily and in-kindto see that these kind of programs and other charitable efforts in general are continued throughout the country?
Mr. BAKER. My first thought is that it is an integral part of our overall tax discussions, but it seems to me that it makes some sense, rather than take taxpayers' money, route it through a Washington bureaucracy, create a program to help people, and then return some number of cents less than what was sent to Washington in actual goods and services to the recipient, if we encourage those dollars to be generated privately in the community, let local communities administer their own goods and services. I think, also appropriately, identify who should be receiving the goods and services in a much more efficient capacity than we do within the governmental side.
That there's efficiencies that occur that are enormous. By keeping the dollar in the community; letting local people administer it; encouraging private donations, perhaps through advantages through the tax code, I think we could deliver much more compassionate social services to people who truly need it at much lower costs than we currently see on the Government side.
This by no means is a small project, but I think that the economies of scale with the AG and A&P Stores make this project economically sound. It's much more difficult to do if it's just a community-based grocery store working with a single church; so, the scale of it is important. Once properly established, I think we really should look at the advisability of enhancing the private individual's incentives to donate. If that can be accomplished, I think we can greatly minimize dependence on the Government social service side, because the individuals get a better product coming from the food bank.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THUNE. Mr. Cooksey, anything to add on that particular note?
Mr. COOKSEY. Just to echo what he said, it's doing a good job where these programs are in place. There's another model, a couple of other model programs. I understand there's a really good one in Chicago, one in Congressman Goodlatte's district as well, but if we can get the message out, and use this one as a model and the other ones that are really good programs, I think it can be an important message and can be useful around the country to take food that would otherwise be wasted, and most importantly, feed those people that truly have needsnourishment needs, food needsand make it available to them.
Mr. THUNE. I would concur that it's something that we'd like to be able to see happen in every congressional district around the country, and obviously, I think that there are things that we can do that encourage people and induce people toif you take off the restraints and the boundaries, the generosity of the American people, I think, is probably unlimited.
That's why this question is sort of related to the last one, but a little bit different, in the sense that the previous question had to do with what can we do to encourage people to contribute. This question has to do with what, in your view, are there barriers out there that prevent this sort of thing from happening currently; and if there are, what might we do to remove the barriers?
Mr. BAKER. One of the things, I think, that was overcome at the Baton Rouge location is the competent administration of the system. There have been, unfortunately, efforts made to establish food banks in other communities, and they have not always turned out well. So, you begin with people who know what they're doing. Perhaps, technical advice, a blueprint being produced by some entity, so it's a handbook on how you should do it; the skills required to operate it; keeping costs lowcertainly those. As in any business plan, knowing what you're doing is an important part and I think we have demonstrated skill in the administration of the Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Beyond that, another big item that inhibits the growth of these opportunities is the physical structure in which to house the enormity of this operation. It would seem apparent to me that in some communities there might be Government buildings not now being properly utilized or utilized at all that could be converted to a warehouse-type of operation. Just a resource identification; let's go through what we own as a Government, see if we can't encourage someone to occupy one of these facilities for this purpose.
Then finally, it takes the good will and the leadership of the local community leaders to approach the grocery stores, the associations that really become the economic engine and, in our case, the bulk of the resources for distribution. Having someone stand at the gate, make sure that the product is properly inventoried, getting the appropriate credits from the manufacturer for the grocer, making sure the recipients are truly in needall of those elements really get down to the skills of the volunteers who are managed at the center. I think a technical manual or a how-to would probably be very helpful.
In all honesty, if we didn't have our folks on deck who are doing this today, I don't know how I would start one without having just walked into a successful operation. Our role really was only to expand it, not to create it. The expansion has been, no doubt, helpful, but the people who have been there working a long time before we ever showed up were the ones who brought the skill to make it successful.
Mr. THUNE. Anything to add? Any questions, Mr. Canady? That was a little unfair, wasn't it?
Mr. CANADY. I wisely refrain.
Mr. THUNE. I want to again thank you for taking the time to share some of your thoughts with us. I agree. I would like to see if there was a way we could do this, some sort of a technical manual that would lay out a foundation for how this might be done other places and would include in there things that are on the incentive side, but, as well, things that we could avoid in terms of someone who's troubleshot this in the past, obviouslyand you have done thatcould be very useful. I would also suggest that if we do that, we might have to translate it from Louisiana-speak into South Dakota language, so the rest of the world can understand it.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BAKER. We'll cook once and they'll understand forever. [Laughter.]
Mr. THUNE. I thank both of our distinguished colleagues for their testimony and thank you for appearing and we'll release you now toI think we're going to be voting on the floor here before long.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. THUNE. At this point, I guess we'll call the third panel. With us today, on the third panel is former Secretary of Agriculture, John Block, who is currently president of Food Distributors International. We also have Marvin Dillard, who is vice president of purchasing at Ukrop Super Markets, testifying on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute, Carl Stages, executive director of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, which we've just heard about. Accompanying Mr. Stages today is Mr. Robert Brockmann, president of Southwest Service and Supply; Phil Grasty, executive director of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and a constituent, I think, of Mr. Goodlatte's, is that correct? And Sister Christine Vladimiroff president and C.E.O. at Second Harvest.
I want to thank you all for being here today, and as soon as you are assembled there at the panel, we'll begin to hear from you, and would like to start with Mr. Block this morning.
STATEMENT OF JOHN R. BLOCK, PRESIDENT, FOOD DISTRIBUTORS INTERNATIONAL, NAWGA/IFDA, INC.
Mr. BLOCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I compliment your colleagues that spoke earlier. I heartily endorse their philosophy that the private sector can carry a lot of this load, and is carrying a lot of load, and doing a terrific job; and we're proud of the part that we have played, and do play, as part of the food industry. I want to also compliment, in particular, the late Bill Emerson for his efforts on this subject, a good friend of yours and mine, too, but we're going to carry on the best we can.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Food Distributors International, which is the association I represent, has companies in the United States and Canada and other countries in the world. We have more than 1,100 distribution centers, with annual sales of more than $150 billion. In that capacity, we work very closely with food banks all across the country; the distribution centers; and then they have reclamation centers in some cases; and there are reclamation companies that work directly with food banks.
The food distribution industry's involvement with these programs is no accident. Our members and their employees have close ties to their communities, including an active role in addressing the needs of the less fortunate. Our industry has been able to provide assistance to those in need of food, and assistance in a number of ways. Among them is the donation of excess or cosmetically-damaged product and financial support.
The private food distribution industry in this country is an amazing, massive, and efficient industry. The entire wholesale and food service distribution industry, when you count all of the wholesale food service and all of the self-distributing chains, is an $800 billion industry. Our industry has achieved unparalleled levels of efficiency that results in, frankly, very little waste. But with that shear size of volume, there's bound to be some products that are unsalablesome damaged products, maybe the packaging or something like that, but the product is still good, and this is being donated to food banks all across the country.
Each year, the Second Harvest network of food banks distributes $1.2 billion, a billion pounds of food, and we're going to hear from some of them later on; and we know the terrific job that they do. So, 80 percent of the food is provided by private companies that goes through these food banks. The other 20 percent comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and, I might just say that I'm very proud of the job that the food industry does, the efficiency of the industry and the quality and the safety of the product, and also I appreciate the effort that the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides, having been a part of that, in making sure that to the extent the Department can find surplus food, and get it on to the food banks.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to compliment the Congress for passing legislationcommon-sense legislationthat was passed by the 104th Congress. Mr. Chairman, I know you're asking what are the things that can be done, or that are done, that really make the private companies and big corporations willing to make this food available. One of the things would have to be, and a very important step, was the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which protects food donors from civil or criminal liability except in cases of gross negligence or intentional acts. This not only was a small step forward towards tort reform, but it's a major step in giving private companies and corporations a peace of mind when they're trying to provide assistance that they will be safe from excessive litigation. A lot of States have laws also, but we needed some uniformity, and this law does help provide that.
The food industry has gone beyond donations of food. In Michigan, the Michigan Grocers Association has the Food Aid for Michigan Program, where the companies up there that are providing the food are allowing a small check-off of money per case, and the monies these cases sold are being used to help people that are in need of food; and this program has been in existence for 11 years. That's another example.
The Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger, called FICAH, has been around the food industry since 1985. A lot of my members, and members of the Food Marketing Institute you'll hear from, are members of this non-profit group, and their effort has been to help people that need food. Some 4 million people in the United States and in 64 other countries have been helped.
Finally, the final effort that I've mentioned is the emerging idea of product reclamation centers; I mentioned them earlier. There are more than 500 of these centers in the United States. There's always, as I said, a certain amount of food that can't be sold because the package is damaged or effaced or something, but it's still good food. Even produce may not quite meet the qualitynot talking food safety; I'm just saying the cosmetic standardsof some restaurant or some grocery store, but it's still good. That can be taken to food banks and we can use reclamation centers for some of the other products.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I had a bit of advice, I would say that I think if the food banks would try to reach out and find these reclamation centerswe haven't done a perfect job at this point in time of tying the two together, but many of them are working together, but some of them aren't, and that's a place probably we could so something helpful in working with Second Harvest, working with the food banks.
Mr. Chairman, as you can see, the food industry has long been a partner in the fight against hunger. We're going to continue to try to do our part and we're looking forward to any new opportunities we can find to be helpful.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Block appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Block.
STATEMENT OF MARVIN DILLARD, VICE PRESIDENT OF PURCHASING, UKROP'S SUPER MARKETS, INC., ON BEHALF OF FOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE
Mr. DILLARD. Mr. Chairman, my name is Marvin Dillard. I'm vice president of purchasing for Ukrop's Super Markets. It's a 25-store, family-owned company based in Richmond, VA. I'm also here today on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute.
FMI is a non-profit association with 1,500 members, including their subsidiariesfood retailers and wholesalers and their customers. FMI's retailing membership is composed of large, multi-store chains, small regional firms, and independent supermarkets.
I believe food banks provide an excellent example of how public-private partnerships can work to help those in need. As Mr. Block has said, while our Nation's food distribution industry is the most efficient in the world, there is still much product that enters the distribution system that is not sold. Supermarkets have demonstrated a long-term, ongoing commitment to work with food banks to get as much of this product as possible to those in need.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm extremely proud of Ukrop's involvement with the Central Virginia Foodbank, but our company's involvement is far from unique. As you might expect, food banks are quite a large part of most supermarkets' community programs. The Food Marketing Institute's 1996 Community Relations Survey of its members shows 82 percent of the respondents donate to food banks. This number has more than tripled in the five surveys taken over the past 14 years, being up from 25 percent in 1982. In addition to serving on local food bank boards, food companies donate transportation, warehousing, refrigeration, engineering, food safety training, and equipment to food banks. Many more donate money directly.
A program which raises thousands of dollars for local food banks through grocery stores is called Checkout Hunger. This program consists of barcoded, tear-off coupons, in denominations of from $1 to $5. These coupons are located at the checkout stand, where customers can support their local food bank by tearing off a coupon and having it scanned at the register as a donation.
The Food Marketing Institute has worked closely with the Second Harvest network of food bankswhich is testifying here todayto provide standards, staff training, and technical advice for food handling and sanitation, in addition to foundation and grant assistance. FMI member companies and staff executives have served on the Second Harvest Board of Directors since 1982. In 1983, FMI established a task force to build support for food banks. FMI has created training programs for store associates on how to properly sort, store, and handle damaged products for food banks and other charity programs. At national, regional, and local conventions and food shows, exhibitors are encouraged to donate their extra food to food banks at the close of the shows.
As a board member of the Central Virginia Foodbank, I'd like to share with you some of our partnerships. We have simplified the collection of salvage from Ukrop's stores by cross-docking. This means we return all surplus food from over 20 locations on Ukrop's refrigerated trucks to one central location where the Foodbank picks it up for distribution. This saves the Foodbank many dollars in warehouse and transportation costs. Ukrop's also participates in the State of Virginia's Neighborhood Assistance Program, which employs tax credits as incentives for business partnerships between the private and the public sectors to assist people in need. These tax credits are applied for as grants and then are awarded to specific programs. These funds have helped offset the costs of sorting, freezing, packing, and returning to one central location, the $1.4 million in food that Ukrop's donated to the Central Virginia Foodbank last year. We also help with the annual Harvest Drive that supplements the Foodbank's food supply by collecting canned goods. Our stores also serve as collection points for food drives held by various community groups throughout the year.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In sum, supermarket operators recognize their responsibility to the communities they serve. I believe our industry's commitment to food banking is an example of what can be accomplished through the use of public-private partnerships.
I'll do my best to answer any questions you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dillard appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Dillard.
STATEMENT OF CARL STAGES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREATER BATON ROUGE FOOD BANK
Mr. STAGES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to take a moment to thank Congressman Baker and Congressman Cooksey for their good words. They have certainly been good friends of the food bank and have helped us as we've tried these new partnerships, and Congressman Baker especially has helped us when we needed to raise funds for our new facility, to go out and actually encourage folks to know about the food bank and to get involved in its work.
I am honored to have this opportunity to represent the volunteers, staff, and board of directors of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank here today. This is a unique situation for our hunger-fighting team, as we have never had the chance to tell our story in such an august forum. With me is Robert Brockmann, president of Southwest Service and Supply, a company of which I will speak shortly.
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is one of nine independent food banks in the United States, and was established in 1984 to combat the hunger problem in the capital area of Louisiana. Many partners came together to create a mechanism which would not only feed hungry people, but also utilize food what was being discarded to fuel the system. From a church parking lot where day-old bread and dented cans were being handed out to individuals, to a 21,000 square-foot facility with a network of over 100 member agencies, the food bank has opened its hand to the needy for over twelve years. On the average, 3,200 people a day are assisted through our collaboration of group homes, meal sites, shelters, pantries, and specially classified agencies. Over 60 percent of those we serve are classified as elderly or children, while 6 percent are homeless.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last year, the food bank distributed over 2,750,000 pounds of food, 96 percent of which was donated. This food was provided free of charge to our agencies. Most food banks charge 12 to 14 cents a pound for the food that they provide to their partners. The value of this food is conservatively estimated at $4,125,000. In addition, over 21,000 hours of timeworth $277,344was donated by our volunteers. In 1996, we also distributed $76,316.15 worth of USDA commodities to our agencies that want to participate in that segment of our program. All of this was done with a cash budget of $396,000, 6.8 percent of which is from the Government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency by the way of the Stewart B. McKinney Actdollars which can only be spent on food purchases. Therefore, if you look at the entire picture, our administrative costs are less than 4 percent, and for every $1 that we receive, we can distribute nearly $12 worth of food.
We also have worked very hard to develop a system to make sure that all of the food that is distributed by the food bank is safe. We have certainly utilized the Good Sam laws, both from Congress and from the State of Louisiana. We check every item four times to make sure that the agencies and the recipients receive good quality food.
All of this has been made possible by creating a public-private partnership. There are many hands that make this work possible: Government, individuals, corporations, civic groups, private companies, the media, funders4,000 individuals and corporations that make this work possiblethe grocery industry, farmers, produce companies, restaurants; all represented by everyday men, women, young adults, and children who have made this food bank work.
We have been fortunate to have a progressive board of directors. Through their leadership, the food bank has been able to create our State's first prepared and perishable food rescue program, Lagniappe du Coeur''Extra from the Heart''which has rescued more than 489,000 pounds of food this year. In December, we added 12 Popeye's Fried Chicken locations that, up until that time, were throwing away 1,000 pounds a week of fried chicken, that we now send to our group homes, meal sites, and shelters.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We staged a successful capital campaign, which raised more than $525,000 to secure our new home, which will be paid off by the end of this yearone full year ahead of schedule. We plan a community garden to supplement our supply of fresh vegetables, because we know the nutritional needs of our clients are vast and this will help in that regard. We have contracted with a team to organize a reclamation centera partnership which impressed Speaker Gingrich, Congressmen Livingston and Cooksey, when they were brought by for a tour by Congressman Baker in June of this year.
The success of the reclamation center is because of the alliances with several partners, those being: Associated Grocers of Louisiana, AG, a local independent grocery wholesaler in Baton Rouge; the New Orleans Division of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc., A&P, a national grocery chain with headquarters in New Jersey, and Southwest Service and Supply, a private company which operates reclamation centers throughout the United States.
The process is simple. Damaged products from AG and A&P are sent to the food bank warehouse where they are processed by the employees of Southwest. Each item is scanned using a system similar to the ones used in grocery stores. The credit given to grocery chains by the product manufacturer is then used to pay Southwest for their services. The food bank then receives the merchandise.
The system works so well because all sides benefit. The vendors get their damaged product processed cheaply and efficiently; Southwest has established a productive small business and created 10 jobs in the Baton Rouge market, and the food bank receives an additional 1 million pounds of food that may not have been made available to us. In addition, Southwest began to pay rent to the food bank for the space which they occupy, adding approximately $10,000 in additional revenue to the food bank's coffers.
And finally, through this process, grocery chains are able to free up expensive warehouse space in a competitive industry; Southwest adds a new facet to their reclamation business; and the food bank does not have to add the administrative costs associated with running its own reclamation center.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, this is a win-win situation for all involved. It is important to note that because of this alliance, the food bank has had a steady supply of food, effectively eliminating times when we would be short of food supplies to meet our agencies' needs.
In addition, as Congressman Baker said this morning, we began to explore the possibility of creating a job-shadowing program, so that people that come to the food bank for help will have the opportunity to gain some skills and help them in their transition from welfare to workfare.
The food bank is truly a community organization, composed of people of all races, creeds, social strata, and ages. It has become recognized as an efficient and fair organization that is progressive and hardworking. All of the ingredients of this story are located in every community, in every area, of our country. With dedication, commitment, and compassion, these entities can partner together to fashion a full plate for all.
Thank you, again, for the privilege. If you would like additional information about this novel program, please feel free to contact me, Robert Brockmann, or any of the parties mentioned. I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stages appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Stages. In the interest of time, I'd like to find outand we're going to have to go over here and vote in a minute, so we'll have to recess temporarily; either that or get another member in here to continue the hearing; but, are there any of you that have planes to catch, deadlines, that would prevent you from staying around? No?
Mr. THUNE. Let me do this, while we're at it, and we'll continue with testimony here in just a minute, but I have one question, if we could; then we might be able to get at least some of you if you get on your way.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Block, you mentioned thatyou've made several references to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act. Have you seen an increase in donations that could be attributable to that particular piece of legislation?
Mr. BLOCK. Mr. Chairman, I can't speak specifically to an increase, but from the discussion that you have with the companies that are in this food business, they're all a little gun-shy of the threat they have from the standpoint of being sued, and it's just my judgment that this is definitely a step forward. I think it will take a little while for it to really take effect, though, and get full penetration across the country. Some either directly in the business, like Marve or maybe you, have been able to, have seen some indication there.
Mr. DILLARD. Well, we were operating under the Virginia Good Samaritan Law before the national law was passed, and it became a qualification for getting food from Ukrop's surplus food that you had to be qualified under the Good Samaritan Law, which meant your organization had to have certain training and their facilities inspected, so to speak, to make sure you were capable of keeping it sanitary and handling it properly. I think that's still the case in the State of Virginia; we do have some inspections.
Mr. STAGES. We've been able, as we go out to secure new donors, especially with our restaurant program, to bring them copies of the new law, as well as the State law, and it's helped us to get them to sign on. We also have two pieces of legislation in the State legislature to improve our liability laws as far as food donationprimarily for the donation of wild game, for our Hunters for the Hungry Program. So we have seen, in fact, that it's been to our advantage.
Mr. THUNE. One other question: It seems to me that using prepared foods from the restaurant is an excellent idea. Does that present any unique challenges in the area of food safety?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAGES. Well, what we did when we set up our program was that we got a regional sanitarian to sit on our advisory committee. We also belong to Food Chain, which is the national network of prepared and perishable food recovery programs, and utilized their knowledge to come up with procedures that would be used to make sure that the food was handled safely and was utilized as quickly as possible. It only goes to our group homes, meal sites, and shelters, which are licensed by the Department of Health and Hospitals on the State level, and that have the personnel to know how to handle this product. We also have been able to work with the restaurants, in many cases to freeze the food, so that's the safest way for it to be transported. We check the temperature from the time we pick it up, if it hasn't been frozen, to the time that it's brought to the food bank or to the agency directly to make sure that it hasn't been in the danger zone too long. We have not had any problems, and even now looking at hospitals, getting them to start to donate product as well.
Mr. THUNE. Mr. Stages, there's one thing that you mentioned, too, I think, in your testimony, was that the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is able to operate with less than 4 percent in terms of administrative costs. I find that to be very admirable, and I guess I'm wondering if you could explain some of the things that you do to keep those administrative costs down.
Mr. STAGES. Well, one example is volunteers. Without 250 to 300 people every month, washing barrels in the stores, or going around picking up food for us, certainly our cost would be higher. The amount of time donated by the volunteers is equal to 10 full-time staff members. We only have 10 full-time staff members, so I'd have to double just the staff, if we didn't have all of this volunteer help. Other ways is we've looked at finding companies that will donate in-kind goods and services to us. So whether it's printingwe have a hospital that prints our newsletter, which saved us $10,000 a year, so that we didn't have to go out and raise money to do that. So that's another way we've kept the cost down, and we just really explored every possibility when we did the capital campaign.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Instead of going out and buying new things for the building, as far as light fixtures, we found partners that had used light fixtures and utilized them to keep the costs down. It's just a matter of treating the money that is donated to the food bank as a sacred trust and spending it as we would want it spent if and when we donate ourselves, to make sure that the best job possible is done.
Mr. THUNE. Do you see, in your experiencethe people that you are helping, what are they saying? Are you seeing them, as they transition out, becoming self-sufficient? Do you get to see the outcomes a lot of times from people that you assist?
Mr. STAGES. Oh, sure, we visit all of our agencies twice a year, and so many times we see the faces of the folks that are there looking for help and we hear the stories. With measurements and outcomes now, we ask the agencies to record information about the people that they're helping; the changes that have been made in their lives; how when they needed the food bank's help, the food bank was there; and they got them through a rough patch of life and now they're back in a productive job again and always contributing to the food bank. We started a new program, Will Work for Food Policy, that if someone wants to volunteer at the food bank for 8 hours a week, we'll give them a box of food, because a lot of folks don't want a handout; they want to earn what's given to them. We've had a lot of success with folks coming in, helping us out, and then getting the food that they need.
So, of course, there are many stories, but I think that people believe in this effort and everybody believes, whether it's a can of peas, a dollar, or an hour of time, that they can be involved in this. When we have our food drives, a lot of times in the poorer areas of Baton Rouge we get as much as from the more affluent areas. There's a way that everybody can be involved in this work.
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Stages.
One other question I had for Mr. Dillard, and we'll have to break here in a minute, but you mentioned the coupon program. It seems to me this is a prime example of how hunger can be combatted one dollar at a time. Are there other efforts that are being made to reach out to those who are willing or able to give only small amounts?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DILLARD. Well, there are numerous canned drives that go on all year long. It seems to be one of the favorite charities for a lot of different organizations and clubs. Like I said, many times we're asked to serve as collection points. So, there's a lot of people that can't give a lot, but they can drop in a can of food. So, literally there are millions of pounds that are collected that way during the year.
In Virginia, in our area, the Boy Scouts put on a large drive. The Postal Service has started two years ago; they put on a large food drive. So, the individual food drives give many people the opportunity to make small donations in goods and then the annual drive where we do mailers, of course, some people respond with large amounts, but you can mail back a dollar. We appreciate all of it.
Mr. THUNE. Mr. Block?
Mr. BLOCK. Mr. Chairman, we're really looking for ways to salvage any good food, because we don't want it to go to waste when people could use it. I would suggest that the retail side really has progressed fairly sophisticated at working with food banks, and working with running food through reclamation centers. I think that the food service side, servicing restaurants and institutions, there's more to be done there. My members of Food Distributors International are both food service and wholesale-retail distributors. So, I think maybe in the food service side, at least my experience would be, that maybe we can do a little bit more on that side.
Mr. THUNE. Perfect. Well, I've got, I think, about 3 minutes to go and vote. I will recess the hearing subcommittee at this point. I apologize to the remaining three panelists. We will come back and take testimony, and I would invite any of you who are willing to to stay for additional questions, if there are things that you feel you can contribute. For those of you that may have to get down the road that we've already heard from, please feel free to do that. We will temporarily suspend the hearing and reconvene.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Recess.]
Mr. GOODLATTE [presiding]. The committee will come back in order. First, I'd like to apologize to everyone for my absence earlier. Sometimes we have two or three things going on at one time; we've had votes on the floor and also in another committee.
I'm pleased to be back to welcome these three remaining panelists, and perhaps we'll have some more questions for Mr. Stages as well. Those who haven't testified yet, I understand, are Mr. Robert Brockmann, president of Southwest Service and Supply; Phil Grasty, executive director of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and a constituent of mine; and Sister Christine Vladimiroff, president and C.E.O. at Second Harvest.
I thank you all for your patience today, for your efforts to get here today; and Mr. Brockmann, we'll start with you.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT BROCKMANN, PRESIDENT, SOUTHWEST SERVICE AND SUPPLY
Mr. BROCKMANN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't really have a lot to add. As you know, I work with Carl Stages at the Baton Rouge Food Bank. I would like to maybe just expand upon a little bit about what our role is at the food bank and what we contribute.
We started about a year-and-a-half ago at the Baton Rouge facility, and basically, what we contributed is the capital to get the facility going. We buy all the equipment; we supply the management; we do all of the training, provide the experience, the software, the hardware that's all involved in this.
The one little facet in this big picture is that this product that's coming back from the storesthe stores need to get credit for thisand it's been about 1012 years ago that FMI and GMA got together, and they said that they will have a shared responsibility for how this product's going to come out of the system and there's a tremendous amount of damage to products every month. It's just amazing the amount of damage, that's still useable, that comes out.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, what we do is, we basically facilitate this. We give credits to the stores; we invoice the manufacturer; we put off a lot of reports, a lot of paperwork, for the distributors and manufacturers alike. The by-product of all this is the product that Carl spoke about earlier.
I guess really that's where our expertise is. If there are other food banks throughout the United States that would like to have a similar program, I think the things that we can contribute, as I mentioned earlier, is the capital management, the experience; we can lease the facilities, and we can put these things together; thus, really keeping the capital exposure away from the food banks and allow them to
concentrate on what they do well. We concentrate on what we do well, along with the software and the management. This is really what I think has made this a successful and really a long-term partnership that really helps a lot of people.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brockmann appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, very much.
I've had the privilege of touring the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Verona, VA, and had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Phil Grasty for several years now. We're delighted to have you here and welcome your testimony.
STATEMENT OF PHIL GRASTY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLUE RIDGE AREA FOOD BANK, INC.
Mr. GRASTY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I bring you greetings from your constituents.
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is one of 185 certified affiliates of the Second Harvest National Food Bank Network. We began operations in 1981. During that period of time, we've distributed some 50 million pounds of food, which equates to about 40 million meals. Our current volume is about 5 million pounds a year.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have pretty much the same programs as most Second Harvest food banks. About 85 percent of our food comes from donations; another 10 percent comes from purchase; USDA commodities amount to about 15 percent of our total volume. We find that to be very valuable, more valuable than any other food group that we deal with, because of their nutrition and their availability.
In Virginia, Second Harvest food banks, compose the advisory council for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which distributes commodities in Virginia, the TEFAP Soup-Kitchen Program.
The subject of the panel is public-private partnerships and I'd like to submit a new term to the committeepublic-private-non-profit partnershipsand make the equation complete. It's the real way that things are being done in this country, and it's really not a phenomenon at all; it has been going on for some time. I think it needs expansion; it needs publicity to cause the Congress to see what's really happening throughout the country.
Rather than getting into a lot about our operations as far as distribution and how we do it, and so forth, I would rather zero-in on public-private-non-profit partnerships that are taking place. I want to cite one outstanding example of a program that we operate. We call it Super PantryI'm not quite sure where that terminology originally came frombut what it is, is a life-skills program whereby we teach low-income participants nutrition; how to prepare a nutritious meal; how to build their self-esteem; how to prepare themselves to take job skills training. It's just a way of causing them to come out of dependency and begin to be self-sufficient, and we take full credit for this program to the public; but, when you really stop to analyze it, it's really a public-private-non-profit partnership. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank conducts the program, we do the classes; but the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service provides us with training; provides us with people who help to conduct the classes and they're very much involved.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Then when you go to the Federal level, VISTA, volunteers from Americorp provide the workers that actually are the heart of conducting our Super Pantry. Beyond this point, private funders, local individuals, provide the funding for the program. We have a large, direct mail program, and with $10, $15, and $25, donations amount to quite a lot, with a donor base of about 10,000 people that donated regularly through our direct mail.
The commodity program in Virginia is also a good example of public-private-non-profit partnerships. USDA provides the food; the funders provide the money to handle the food; USDA again provides some administrative fees; and the private funders thenone thing that makes non-profits so necessary to this equation, they can do something that no Government program could ever do, in that, as the gentleman from Baton Rouge was saying, we have a couple of hundred volunteers, who are actually the heart of our labor force, and they provide something that no Government agency can do, is to have people who work for nothing per se. The volunteer base of a non-profit makes it possible to get all these things done.
One other form of public-private-non-profit I would like to bring out very quickly is, as you know, in Virginia we have the Neighborhood Assistance Program, which is a grants program; Mr. Dillard mentioned that previously. It's a grants program, whereby we apply for a grant for tax credits to give to our food donors and cash donors. We've been involved with this program for some 15 years, and we use it to solicit food, and we have probably some of the best quality food of any food bank because of the tax credits; the donor tends to make a more conscious donation of more quality food. That, too, is a public-private-non-profit partnership.
Certainly, a Federal version of this program would be something that would result in a lot more food coming to the food banks from donors. Again, as the other food banks brought out, on a 10 to 1 ratio is what claimis that $10 comes back in food for every $1 that's donated from whatever direction: Federal, State, or private donation.
So public-private-non-profit partnerships are key to what's happening. As far the economy of it, no Government agency or no bureaucratic agency can ever do anything as cheap or even, many times, as efficiently, as a non-profit organization that has its act together. It's garnering public support, private support, and it's working with all sectors to make it happen.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As someone else mentioned earlier, we can shake the hand of the person that we're providing food to; we can look them in the eye. The local churchwe distribute the food to a unique partnership with about somewhere around 500 small, local churches that deal with our branch locations in Verona, Winchester, Lynchburg, and Charlottesville. It gets down, the thing about food banks that is unique, it winds up with the partnership with the agencies; people who receive the food are known by the people who dispense the food, and it's not a numbering system or an application system, but it's happening at the grassroots level, where it really needs to be. I could go on, but I probably should not.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Grasty appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. We'll come back and hit some questions in a minute, but first we'll hear from Sister Vladimiroff.
STATEMENT OF SISTER CHRISTINE VLADIMIROFF, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SECOND HARVEST
Sister VLADIMIROFF. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte. I'm really grateful for this opportunity to provide testimony before you today, in reviewing the public-private and not-for-profit partnership of food banks.
As you have introduced me, I am Christine Vladimiroff, president and C.E.O. of the Second Harvest National Food Bank Network, and we're very proud of out food bank in Verona and the leadership that Phil Grasty gives there.
Really, the history of Second Harvest is a testament to the public-private charitable partnership that this subcommittee is reviewing today. In the early 1970's, several small food banks were created by an innovative person, our founder, John Van Hengel, in Arizona. In 1976, the Federal Government provided a grant to the food bank in Phoenix to assist in the development of food banks throughout other parts of the country. In the previous testimony, there was a desire for a blueprint. Well, that blueprint was created back in 1976 and has spread to the fact that the Second Harvest Network now has 184 food banks, serving in all 50 States and the Territory of Puerto Rico.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1979, this federally-funded development effort had been expanded, and really, at this point now, we have the innovation starting in the charitable sector; we have the strong partnership with the food industry, and we're able to carry the program out nationally without Federal grants. In fact, we have grown from those 13 food banks, serving a handful of communities, to the most comprehensive, private hunger relief charity. For every dollar donated to Second Harvest, we can leverage and move $68 worth of food. Again, our aim is to be efficient and effective in targeting domestic hunger relief.
We are very proud of the work that we do, but we know that it must include the partnership. The partnership has to be each party giving what they best can give. The charitable sector is close to the people; they have a passion for the work, and we have the local infrastructure. The food industry has given us not only the food products, but, as you heard before in previous testimony, the expertise. FMI, GMA, National Food Processors, the Food Brokers have all given us the training sessions in terms of food safety; they have given us the equipment that we need to professionalize the kinds of services that we give.
Second Harvest's mission is to feed the hungry by soliciting and distributing surplus food and grocery products; we develop and certify and support food banks; we develop and certify the staff of those food banks to handle, not only the shelf staple food, but the prepared food that is especially volatile in terms of food safety; and we serve as a liaison with donors so that it is easy to donate.
Another important element in our mission is to educate the public about the nature of, and possible solutions to, the problems of domestic hunger, and therefore, we engage in various research activities to bring forth a very accurate and precise picture of how many people are hungry, and why are they hungry, and why do they need to use soup kitchens or pantries for at least some piece of their lifetime.
Last year, the Second Harvest network distributed more than 1 billion pounds of food and grocery products to people in need. Of the total amount of food distributed by the network, approximately 834 million pounds were donated by the private sector. So that partnership is very strong; it is coming close to a 20-year anniversary, but you can see that the other part was made up by the support from the Government sector.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC According to independent research of emergency feeding organizations conducted for Second Harvest, approximately 26 million low-income people, including 11 million children and 4 million elderly, are served by the Second Harvest network each year. This figure indicates that one in 10 Americans are in need of our emergency food assistance at some point during the year. This incredible work is being accomplished because of the assistance by the food industry as well as the support that the commodities give us. The food and grocery industries are good corporate citizens, not only in terms of their food, but in sponsoring things such as Kids' Cafe, programs for hungry children, the job training that is going on in some of our food banks supported by the Marriott Corporation.
And it's important to know that we continue to make new friends and new donors that are enabled by the action of Government. Certainly, the Good Samaritan legislation has not only encouraged our present donors, but helped us acquire, and will continue to help us acquire, multi-state corporations in terms of their security of liability.
Again, I want to stress, however, that while we're proud of what we've done with the private sector, the Federal food assistance programs are the essential core of the public-private partnership necessary to combat domestic hunger. Programs such as the Food Stamp Program, the school lunch and school breakfast programs, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, have quantifiably reduced the incidence of hunger and malnutrition in our Nation. Despite the veritable success of the Federal food assistance programs, there are still people who have to come to the private sector.
I do want to point out that the TEFAP program is very, very important to us. It continues to be a stabilizing effort in communities. It is important to note that the TEFAP program in giving us the wonderful food that comes through it, we estimate that the TEFAP alone of commodities feeds 15 million households a month. It is one of the four largest nutrition assistance programs in terms of clients served, but it is very small in terms of the funding in relationship to the others. We're delighted with the fact that we had the purchase funds; they've become mandatory, and we're looking to the future to even strengthening, in a great degree, our partnership with the Government and with the food industry, so that the real beneficiaries will be the hungry people in local communities.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Sister Vladimiroff appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. I will take some questions now. First, I want to commend all of you for your efforts to address hunger in the private sector. I believe the private sector is the best arena in which to solve many of the problem faced by this Nation. What can we as Congress do legislatively to entice further donations, both monetarily and in-kind, to these types of programs and other charitable efforts, in general? Maybe Mr. Brockmann would take that first?
Mr. BROCKMANN. Quite honestly, I'm not really sure how to respond to that, because that's a pretty big wish list. I think, quite honestly, well, at least our program in Baton Rouge anyway is kind of uniqueis that we really almost kind of support ourselves. I think Carl can probably expand a little bit wider on this, but if we can get with certain distributors that have the productnow, I'm really speaking mostly on returns and a reclamation program where we get damaged products back from the manufacturers and from the retailersif they donate the product, the manufacturers are kind of, in effect, along with the distributors, paying our services to get the food bank the product.
Once the food bank gets the product, then they have volunteers to get the product out to the agencies. I think Carl can, too, also expand upon the agencies that he needs to support his staff. I think this is what really makes our program somewhat unique, is that we don't really have to depend a lot on the Federal Government.
I would like for Carl to expand just a little bit upon some of the things that he uses to support his
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Stages?
Mr. STAGES. Well, one of the most important things we have is that we have, as Mr. Grasty said, a large base of small donors, people that send $25, $35, $45 throughout the year. Those contributions help us to be able to run the food bank. We get about 37 percent of our budget from those sorts of donations, and it certainly is important that people feel like they're giving because they believe in the cause, but also that they'll get the tax deduction that they need, depending on the level of their gift. Especially, with corporations, they want to make sure that the records are kept for that. So that helps us to raise money from them because, just as important as the food is, the money to run the programs has to be there; otherwise, we couldn't exist at the levels that we do.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Grasty, do you have anything to add to that?
Mr. GRASTY. Yes, you kind of hit on a hot button of mine for some time. I think that someone made the remark earlier in the hearing: that there's more than enough private money available, you know, if it can be leveraged. An incentive to individual and companies to donate, a tax credit, a large reduction, whatever the form that might take, and I'm not sure what that should be, but that statement was true. There is enough money out there within the private sector to support. I see the Government as being a facilitating agency for that, to tax credits or whatever form that takes, to motivate and influence and encourage corporations and individuals to provide the support that's needed. It just needs to be something concrete, something firm, something that's controllable, that wouldn't be a cost to taxpayers; it would be a tremendous savings to taxpayers. I can cite the examples in Virginia with the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit; the fact that it is workable and has provided us much support. It goes beyond the amount that is donated at the time the donor receives a tax credit, but it also leverages donations beyond the tax credit and I just see public-private-non-profit partnerships, I see the Government's role as being a facilitator.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Sister Vladimiroff?
Sister VLADIMIROFF. I would affirm what Phil has said. We would like Congress to look at the tax treatment in terms of donations of food, the present tax regulations in effect right now, and also, I understand that there is some need to look at especially the food service donations in terms of the tax credits or benefits that would be available to food service entities in terms of donating to us, as well as I think the Government can help on its part of the partnership by taking a look at and passing bill H.R. 680, in terms of giving food banks access to the Federal surplus equipment and materials around the country, in terms of forklifts and pallet jacks, and so forth. That would enable us, again, to keep our operation efficient as we move the major part of our inventory being private.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. I wonder if any of you can give me an idea of what, if any, of your source comes from gleaning programs? Sister Vladimiroff, if you have an overall view of that from Second Harvest?
Sister VLADIMIROFF. If you're talking about agricultural gleaning programs, that would be very regional. For instance, the State of Arizona has a statewide gleaning program, which it throughout the year will get millions of pounds of food through the entire State and share it with other States and other Second Harvest food banks throughout the country, as well as parts of California. Then you would also hit States where that is a small part of what they distribute. Though gleaning is increasing as a resource for food for us, it is not nationwide in all of our food banks. So, some are very rich in that area.
I know, for instance, I took part in a gleaning project in the county of West Palm in Florida, where the farmer tithes one-tenth of his production and leaves it in the field, so the food banks in that whole area then get 200300 volunteers to go into that field and bring out those crops and then share them and/or process them. It's very labor-intensive and it's very time-consuming for us to do that, but we're very, very grateful for that and the agricultural community partnership.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. GRASTY. Yes, sir. I would agree. I think only one problem with gleaningI know Virginia apples in our area and other things in other areas, we do get some of that type product. I think one problem the food banks have with gleaning is the fact that there's such a large quantity of product in that given time. If there were some program for preservation, you know, canning, freezing, dehydrating, or whatever, I think gleaning would then become something that would be a real meaningful part of what we do. Sometimes the lag time between the time this product is obtained and we're able to distribute it, it loses quite a bit of quality. If there were some method to stop time and preserve it
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. You don't have a canning operation, I take it?
Sister VLADIMIROFF. No, although in Colorado, for instance, they work with the Mormon ChurchChurch of Latter Day Saintsthat have canneries in their area, and they will glean the carrots or the onions, or whatever, and then do some processing as a State association of food banks. Anywhere there's food, we've been thinking about how to get it and then how to give it shelf life, and how to get it to hungry people, I can assure you, but we do need assistance in this.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Brockmann, anything you need to add to that?
Mr. BROCKMANN. No, I don't have anything.
Mr. GOODLATTE. OK. Mr. Grasty, you mentioned in your statement the extreme USDA record-keeping requirements. Can you go into some detail on that, in terms of what kinds of records are required to be kept?
Mr. GRASTY. Maybe the term ''extreme'' is extreme, but we have a lot of local churches, very small churches that maybe operate with one or two volunteers, and in some cases even maybe the degree of literacy may be in question. So, the income level, the number of cans given, all those things that they're required to do, I get typically a sense of fear, and I feel if there was a more, I guess, convenient or easier way of obtaining that information and keeping those records, I think there would be a wider-spread distribution of USDA commodities. I don't know if food banks in metropolitan areas have that same problem or not, but we certainly do because of our small groups that distribute the food.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Sister Vladimiroff, this morning Under Secretary Watkins announced the creation of a new position at the USDA, the Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning. What are your thoughts on that announcement?
Sister VLADIMIROFF. Well, I guess I have to reserve my final judgment on that until I have more information about how this office would function, because, in effect, we've been gleaning, whether that be at the manufacturing level, at the retail level, or at the food service level, and at the agricultural level, without the need of that coordinating position. So, I guess I'd like to see what the job description is and what the capabilities of the individual appointed to this position would bring to it that would enhance or further the capability of the activities that have been going on for the last 10, 15, 20 years.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. Grasty, you talked about the Super Pantry Program. Can you elaborate on that a little bit and tell us how many people took advantage of that program last year?
Mr. GRASTY. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I have the gentleman with me who handles that program for us. Would it be appropriate for him to comment on that for us?
Mr. GOODLATTE. That must be Reb Stewart.
Mr. GRASTY. No, Rod Plowman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. No, it's not? Well, you've got a lot of folks from my district here with you. That's great. Also have him come on up.
Mr. GRASTY. OK. In fact, I'd like for him to comment on two things. You mentioned the record-keeping on USDA, and he's somewhat of a qualified expert on that as well. So if he could elaborate on those two questions, I would appreciate it.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Very good. We do also want to welcome Reb Stewart, whose brother was also here today with the Rockingham/Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce. So the whole family's up here, just about. Glad to have you all.
Mr. PLOWMAN. Our Super Pantry program started in January 1996. Since then, we've had about 20 Super Pantries in the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. We've run close to about 200 people through them. Super Pantry is a cooperative effort between the food bank and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Services. It's a program for low-income families. It consists of nutrition education, hands-on food preparation, life-skills training. The clients are all given extensive training in nutrition; they prepare their own meal. At the end of the day they're all given a bag of groceries to take home. They are able to prepare the same meal for their family that they learned how to prepare that day for themselves.
Would you like to know any more about Super Pantry?
Mr. GOODLATTE. What type of feedback are you getting from the participants in the program?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PLOWMAN. It's been terrific. Yesterday, we had a graduation ceremony over in your district, in Highland County. We had six low-income ladies graduate and they were in tears because they didn't want it to end. They learned the food pyramid; they learned the food label; the learned how to be a better shopper; they learned food safety. We've had speakers come in and talk to them about self-esteem, problem-solving, decision-making, stress management. We've had attorneys come in and talk to them about issues that affect low-income families. When the program ended, they all, of course, receive a graduation certificate and a few little gifts, but it's been very well received.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Sister Vladimiroff, as president and C.E.O. of Second Harvest, you may have the broadest perspective of the public-private partnership that we've been examining today. Are there private companies that come to mind that exemplify what we've been talking about?
Sister VLADIMIROFF. I certainly would like to cite the Pillsbury Corporation, that not only gives us their surplus, but when they have additional product that they're not going to can or it does not meet their standardsbut it's perfectly safethey invented what we call value-added processing; canning that farm material, beans or peas, and putting a Second Harvest label on it, rather than throwing it away.
Right now they're taking leadership in something we call production alliance. They are, and they're asking their peer corporations to plan first-line production in their yearly schedule that is precisely targeted for food banks as their contribution. Now that the food industry has found out how to get excess inventory out of their production, they're going to put deliberate production in for domestic hunger relief. So they're a real leader there.
They have also funded the programs around Kids' Cafe. They're literally feeding programs that go wherever the kids are, whether it's a tutoring program, or a sports program, and we know that there are children there who are hungry, especially over the summer, when there isn't school lunch and school breakfast. They have funded many of the startup programs around the country. So they're outstanding.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Marriott Corporation has a corporate policy to donate all of their food to Second Harvest food banks, shelf-stable food as well as food service food, and now they are partnering with select food banks throughout the country to go into the job training in terms of community kitchens in processing the leftover foods from the restaurants.
So, we have many, many good, good donors, and certainly Post Cereal's hundredth anniversary that they just celebrated, they used it to raise hunger awareness across the country.
So the food industry has been a good corporate citizen of ours. FMI has given us innumerable training sessions for all of our food banks, as well as GMA, Grocery Manufacturers Association. The public has benefitted from that type partnership, and now that the Federal Government has seen to ensure its piece of the partnership with the commodities program, we're hoping that $100 million is not only protected, but might have to grow a little bit to be an equal member of that partnership.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Very good. Mr. Grasty, you have any private industries you want to single out for recognition?
Mr. GRASTY. Yes, there are several. I don't know if you are familiar with Share Our Strength, a national restaurant organization. They provide funding for a lot of food banks, Second Harvest and otherwise. Local companies, particularly the poultry producers that you're familiar with; Rocco Industries, Rocco, Wampler, Longacre, Tysonthose companies have been a really valuable ally.
A number of local industries have provided funding for the food bank, this local funding coupled with Federal and State facilitation. I was considering, coming over here today, what has made us have whatever measure of success that we've had. I thought about our Board of Directors; I thought about the local media; and about the food donations and all the things that are factored in to make the food bank a success. I made the realization that public-private-non-profit partnerships have had more to do with that success than anything. One of those factors alone cannot make it happen.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With the Super Pantry that Rod was discussing a moment ago, everybody brought something to the table. The Cooperative Extension Service brought their expertise, nutrition; they wanted to get that word out to the general public. We provided them with the vehicle to do that, and with their expertise, and the VISTA program provided us with workers to do that. So, in a public-private-non-profit partnership, everybody has to bring something to the table. Everybody has to benefit for it to be a workable program, and we've seen that happen over and over again. I think the climate, environment of Congress now is such that we have an opportunity to expand that, make things happen, and save the taxpayers lots of money.
Nobody has mentioned welfare reform and there are all sorts of feelings about that. We, as a local food bank, see it as being a healthy thing, but we realize as well that it inevitably will bring more people to the food bank for food. When food banks were formed some years ago, it was getting potentially wasted food to people that needed it, and that concept still goes on, but now food banks find themselves coming into a role of supplementary providers. Someone may work for a minimum wage job and there's too much month at the end of the money; they need help. So we see that expanding as people go from welfare to work. It's a healthy situation, but we're gearing up and are ready to meet that challenge.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Mr. Brockmann or Mr. Stages, anything?
Mr. BROCKMANN. Well, since we're part of the private sector, I guess, we would probably be on top of my list, anyway. [Laughter.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Very good.
Mr. BROCKMANN. But short of that, I would like to mention Congressman Baker and Cooksey, both of whom I have a lot of respect for. Not really being from Louisiana, I would like to mention them and tell them thank you for all their great help, because any program that has any degree of success is typically top-driven, and to have people of that stature take timeand acknowledge Mr. Stages' hard work in Louisiana; I'm sure it's been a big help.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Very good.
Mr. STAGES. He kind of stole some of the people I was going to talk about, but certainly I want to echo those comments. I think all of us can come up with examples of different individuals and companies that have made a tremendous contribution. Certainly, from our reclamation center-side, Southwest; Associated Grocers; and A&P. Without their decision to donate the product, then that program couldn't be as efficient as it is. I think about the William H. Wright, Jr. family, who donated $50,000, the largest gift, to our capital campaign, and really got the ball rolling in that effort so that we could secure a new home.
I think about companies such as McDonald's of Baton Rouge, that any time we need additional freezer space, they make it available to us, so that once our freezer fills up, we have another place we can go and store product until we're ready to distribute it.
I think about Tel America, who's sponsoring our golf tournament, is a major sponsor, a $5,000 contribution. To us, that's a lot of money. And it takes everybody, all involved in this effort, to make it all work. Certainly, Congressman Baker and his staff have helped us to be there as a resource and to let us bounce ideas off of them and to get their perspective on us, because we need that kind of support also as we continue in this effort.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, and I want to thank all of you for your efforts to get here today and your participation and your patience with the committee and commend you for the fine job you're doing. I've had the opportunity to visit both the Blue Ridge, but also the food bank run by Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke, and I know how many people you reach in just my congressional district, and I know that these operations all over the country are vitally important. We're going to see that funding is continuously available to you to make sure that happens.
Without objection, the statement of Chairman Bob Smith as well as another one of our good members, Sam Farr from California will be made part of the record.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair would seek unanimous consent to allow the record of today's hearing to remain open for 10 days to receive additional material and supplementary responses from witnesses to any question posed by a member of the panel. So, if any of you decide you want to send something else in that you think will further elaborate on what you answered, please don't hesitate to do so; you have ten days for that.
Without objection, it is so ordered.
And this hearing of the Department Operations, Nutrition, and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:40 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
TESTIMONY OF HON. RICHARD H. BAKER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee and honored guests, I am proud to come before this committee with a new and innovative program that could benefit communities across America. As Congress struggles to redesign our country's social welfare programs, we must realize that regardless of how difficult and daunting our tasks appear to be, our answers lie in the spirit and ingenuity of the American people.
My story has humble beginnings. Over 12 years ago in the parking lot of the Victoria Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA a small group of Samaritans would distribute day-old bread and bent canned goods to neighbors in need. Through the years, this meager Food Pantry underwent several transformations as the true needs of the poor and needy in our community became evident.
Today, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is an integral part of our community meeting the emergency, short term needs of the hungry. Through the services offered by its more than 120 member agencies, over 3,200 people per day are fed and statistics show that 44 percent of this figure are children and 16 percent are the elderly.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To meet this need, the food bank has to supply nearly 4 million pounds of food stuffs per year. Thanks to the creative resourcefulness of volunteers over the years, the food bank has crafted partnerships throughout the community to obtain food supplies. For example, the Louisiana Rice Producers generously donate 1 million pounds of rice each year, area restaurants and bakeries donate nearly 1 million pounds of unused, prepared foods that were packaged and provided to homeless shelters and crisis centers, and through a partnership forged with The Associated Grocers of Louisiana and Louisiana based A&P Grocery Stores, a reclamation center was housed at the food bank, and has supplied over 1 million additional pounds of food in the last year.
While all of these programs and partnerships have proven beneficial, it is the latter that we are here to discuss with you today. Mr. Carl Stages, executive director of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and Mr. Robert Brockman, President of Southwest Service and Supply, have joined me this afternoon and will discuss this partnership in detail, for it is one that could serve communities in every Congressional District in America.
As Members of Congress, our duties are recognized as crafting the laws of the land in an attempt to provide clear cut solutions to our constituents' problems. Sometimes we make things better for people, sometimes we do not. But our duties shouldn't stop there. We should not loose sight of the true perils of the American people. Their answers are not bound to any form of legislation, but to the good intentions and kind gestures of their neighbors.
Over the last few years, my involvement with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been minimal in relation to the rest of my schedule. But I can truthfully say that the time and energy I have spent to raise money for this organization was the best investment I ever made. I have seen first-hand the results of my efforts. For every dollar that I raised, nearly $13 dollars worth of food was distributed, and as a public servant, I can think of no better way in which to spend my time.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I challenge each and every one of my colleagues to go home and find a cause as good as this one, where we can invite resourceful people to bond together and come up with solutions for the problems of our day. We should address America's needs at home, and not in Washington, DC.
TESTIMONY OF SHIRLEY R. WATKINS, UNDER SECRETARY, FOOD, NUTRITION AND CONSUMER SERVICES
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ms. Clayton and Members of the Subcommittee. I am Shirley R. Watkins, the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. I am pleased to be here today to discuss the public-private partnership of food banks and USDA's role with respect to food banks and soup kitchens. I am particularly delighted that this is my first hearing since my Senate confirmation as the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.
This administration made a commitment at the World Food Summit to cut in half the number of hungry people in this country by 2015; this is only a temporary goal. What we are really working toward is eliminating hunger all together. As you can imagine, that is quite a task, but we have our sleeves rolled up and are prepared to take on the challenge.
We realize, of course, that we can not do this alone. Government has a role, but we also work at building partnerships with the private sector. We are bringing everyone to the tablelarge corporations, small businesses, faith-based groups, labor unions, professional organizations, elected officials from all levels of government, folks in agriculture and in transportation, community service groups, anti-hunger activists and anyone else with an interest in contributing time or resources in the fight against hunger.
The National Summit on Food Recovery and GLeaning. I am happy to let the Subcommittee know that next Monday and Tuesday, September 15 and 16, USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, in partnership with the Congressional Hunger Center, Food Chain, Second Harvest, and the Chef and Child Foundation, will be hosting the National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning here in Washington, DC. You have all received invitations; and I encourage you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, to participate.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There will also be local sites throughout the Nation participating through a live satellite broadcast and related events. Many of these sites will also engage in facilitated discussions and sponsor food recovery and gleaning community service projects locally as well as workshop sessions.
As you know, a recent USDA study estimates that more than one quarter of all food produced in the Nation is wasted. The study, prepared by the USDA Economic Research Service, the first of its kind in 20 years to examine and quantify food loss, found that, in 1995, about 96 billion pounds of foodor 27 percent of the 356 billion pounds of the food available for human consumption in the United Stateswere lost at the retail, consumer, and food service levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, grain products, and sweeteners accounted for two-thirds of these losses.
Unfortunately, in the past, there has been a hesitancy to recover much of this food as citizen volunteers and potential corporate donors were rightfully concerned about putting themselves at legal risk. However, thanks to this committee's efforts and especially those of the late Rep. Bill Emerson as well as Rep. Pat Danner, President Clinton last year signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act into law. The Act is designed to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks and churches for distribution to needy individuals. The Act creates a uniform minimum level of protection from liability for donors to instances of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. State Good Samaritan Statutes may also provide protection above and beyond that guaranteed in the Federal Statute.
With this risk barrier removed, we have a great opportunity to develop even more public-private partnerships as we work toward our goal of eliminating hunger. In the foreword to ''A Citizen's Guide to Food Recovery'', Secretary Glickman states, ''strong Federal programs are essential, but government alone cannot solve the problem of hunger in America. We need your help.''
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Next week's summit has a concrete goal of beginning the development of a specific plan to eventually help feed 450,000 additional hungry Americans each day by gleaning and recovering food. The summit will help expand the growing national movement to use food recovery in the United States as an inexpensive means of helping to feed the hungry. It will begin the process of developing a comprehensive national plan of public-private partnerships to implement a 33 percent increase by the year 2000 of the amount of food annually recovered and distributed through various emergency food assistance programs, primarily food banks, to Americans in need.
During the Summit, workshops will be conducted to share ideas in overcoming barriers. Among the issues to be discussed are creative nontraditional methods of transportation and distribution as well as storage and handling of perishables. Workshops will also provide technical assistance on issues such as safety and sanitation.
The summit will issue a call to action to every sector of American societyindividuals as well as institutionsto make real, measurable commitments to fight hunger. We know that the Federal Government will always have a critical role in helping feed low-income Americans, but public-private food recovery partnerships need to be one tool to help supplement the traditional Federal role.
At USDA's Food and Consumer Service (FCS), we will be encouraging our school partners to donate leftover food from breakfasts and lunches to local nonprofit organizations serving the needy. Schools can provide a viable option for food recovery, especially during extended holidays, semester breaks and at the end of the school year. I am also pleased, Mr. Chairman, to announce today that for the first time at FCS, there will be a position of Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning. The position was created so that there will be a coordination of the work of all Federal agencies involved in the Interagency Task Force on Food Recovery to Feed the Hungry, coordination of an internal USDA Food Recovery and Gleaning Task Force; and to generally determine and implement ways the Federal Government can aid national and local efforts to recover excess food and distribute it to hungry Americans.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Tefap and Food Banks. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is administered by USDA's Food and Consumer Service to provide supplementary food to low-income households. Most of this food is distributed through the nation's food bank network.
During the current fiscal year, $125 million is available for food and an additional $45 million for administrative funds to operate TEFAP. States are allowed to use administrative funds to support local food recovery and gleaning operations and/or request that in lieu of part or all of their administrative funding they receive an equal amount of commodities. We know that individual states can best determine where their greatest need lies; therefore, we have given states the flexibility to target resources where they can do the most good both in terms of geographical areas and the type of assistance they wish to provide, i.e., distribution of commodities for low-income household consumption and/or institutional meal service for the needy. States are being encouraged to form advisory boards comprised of representatives of public and private organizations interested in TEFAP to advise the states on benefit targeting. USDA is also continuing to improve commodities available through TEFAP and food banks by reducing fat, sodium and sugar. We are also working hard to make a wide range of nutritious and popular foods available, including those rich in protein.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and the Subcommittee in our effort to reduce and eliminate hunger. USDA's Food Recovery Summit is the first step. Improving our food bank public-private partnerships is another. Our feeding programs are the cornerstone for reaching our goal and improving nutrition and health of Americans. Together our efforts can make a difference.
This concludes my formal testimony, Mr. Chairman. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or the members of the subcommittee might have.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN R. BLOCK, PRESIDENT, FOOD DISTRIBUTORS INTERNATIONAL-NAWGA/IFDA, INC.
Good morning Chairman Goodlatte, Representative Clayton, and members of the Subcommittee. I am John Block, president of Food Distributors International (FDI). Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the private sector's involvement with food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations that provide food assistance to needy Americans. I know that this is an issue the Subcommittee has been interested in for a number of years and was of particular importance to the late chairman, Bill Emerson, who was a good friend to many of us. Chairman Goodlatte, I congratulate you on holding this hearing. It offers us in the private sector the opportunity to show how we cooperate with the non-profit sector to perform an outstanding public service.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Food Distributors International is the international trade association comprised of food distribution companies which primarily supply and service independent supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and military bases throughout the United States, Canada and more than 19 other countries. Food Distributors International's 258 member companies operate over 1,143 distribution centers with a combined annual sales volume of $147 billion. Our member companies employ a work force of over 350,000 and in combination with their independently-owned customer firms, provide employment for several million people.
The food distribution industry's involvement with anti-hunger organizations is no accident. Our members and their employees have close ties to their communities, including an active role in addressing the needs of the less fortunate. Our industry has been able to provide assistance to the anti-hunger community in a number of ways, chief among them is the donation of excess or cosmetically damaged product and financial support.
The private food distribution industry in this country is an amazingly massive and efficient industry. The entire wholesale and foodservice industry in the United States, which includes FDI members as well as large national retail chains that distribute their own products, each year distributes over $800-billion worth of food and grocery products. Our industry has achieved unparalleled levels of efficiency that results in little waste. However, the shear size of our industry guarantees there will be some unsaleable products. Typically, most these products cannot be shipped to our customers due to cosmetic damage to the packaging or the product may not meet other quality and appearance standards. Rather than allow this wholesome product to go to waste, the industry seized this as an opportunity to help those in need.
In fact, private donations account for the majority of food that is distributed by food banks. Each year, the Second Harvest network of food banks, who is also testifying today, distributes 1.2 billion pounds of food and grocery products valued at nearly $1.4 billion. Approximately 80 percent of these products are provided through private donations. The remainder is provided by the Department of Agriculture, and in some cases state governments and the individual food banks have funds available for food purchases.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Perhaps one of the most innovative ideas that will, over time, have an enormous impact on the food industry's interaction with food banks is a piece of common sense legislation that was passed by the 104th Congress. In addition to an historic overhaul of our country's welfare system, the last Congress, primarily due to the efforts of Bill Emerson, enacted legislation that made it easier for the private sector to continue its role in helping charitable organizations. This legislation, appropriately named the ''Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act'' (Public Law 104210), protects food donors from civil or criminal liability except in cases of gross negligence or intentional acts. Not only was this a small step toward tort reform, but this legislation made it easier for companies to donate unsalable, but wholesome, products to food banks or any of the thousands of charitable and faith-based organizations that provide services to the needy.
Prior to enactment of the Bill Emerson Act, all states had enacted some form of legislation to protect food donors from liability. However, the laws varied greatly from state to state, and many potential donors were apprehensive about dealing with the wide array of state laws. Indeed, food banks, like food wholesalers and foodservice distributors, often distribute in more than one state, and a donation to a food bank in one state is frequently shipped to another. The costs associated with adopting donation plans that comply with the various state laws often prevented companies from donating. By reducing the concerns about liability and the costs associated with donating food products, it is my hope that the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act will help increase the amount that is donated.
The food industry has also gone beyond food donations and taken a number of innovative steps to assist the food bank and anti-hunger community. Two, which I would like to mention briefly, have been in existence for over a decade. The first is a program run by the Michigan Grocers Association called ''Food Aid For Michigan''. In exchange for products being highlighted in state-wide advertising campaigns food manufacturers agree to contribute a certain amount of money per case of product sold during the campaign. The money is then distributed to anti-hunger organizations throughout the state. In the 11 years since it began, Food Aid For Michigan has collected over $600,000.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second initiative, the Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger (FICAH), has a broader scope. FICAH is a coalition of thousands of food wholesalers, manufacturers, brokers, and retailers that raises money to help alleviate hunger by fostering long-term, self-help solutions in the U.S. and around the world. In 1996 FICAH contributed over $1 million to help fund 22 international programs and hundreds here in the U.S. It receives funding through corporate grants from wholesalers, manufactures, and suppliers, as well as a point of purchase fundraiser that is conducted at the retail level. Since it was created in 1985, FICAH has helped an estimated 4 million people in the United States and 64 other countries.
Mr. Chairman, as you can see, the food industry has long been a partner in the fight against hunger and it will continue to do its part. I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.
TESTIMONY OF MARVIN DILLARD, VICE PRESIDENT OF PURCHASING, UKROP'S SUPER MARKETS, INC.
Mr. Chairman, my name is Marvin Dillard. I am vice president of purchasing, Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc. in Richmond, Virginia. I am also here today on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute.
Ukrop's is a 25-store, family-owned supermarket chain and the market leader in the Richmond grocery market. Ukrop's has a Central Bakery, a Central Kitchen, a downtown cafeUkrop's Fresh Express, a uniform shop and pharmacies in 11 of our stores. Ukrop's is committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations and is committed to improving the well being of the community. Specifically, Ukrop's contributes 10 percent of pre-tax profits to charitable organizations; Ukrop's encourages associates to be good community volunteers; and Ukrop's will continue to do our best to help our community reach its full economic, social and political potential.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is a nonprofit association conducting programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 1,500 members including their subsidiaries '' food retailers and wholesalers and their customers in the United States and around the world. FMI's domestic member companies operate approximately 21,000 retail food stores with a combined annual sales volume of $220 billion, more than half of all grocery store sales in the United States. FMI's retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, small regional firms and independent supermarkets.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ukrop's works with the Central Virginia Foodbank in a number of ways. The retail value of the food products Ukrop's donates to the Central Virginia Foodbank is $1.4 million a year. We also provide technical assistance to the Foodbank and I serve on its Board of Directors and Operations Committee. We have helped the Foodbank by simplifying the distribution of salvage food from Ukrop's by cross docking. This means we take all surplus food from over 20 locations on Ukrop's refrigerated trucks to one central location where the Foodbank can collect it. This not only saves transportation costs for the Foodbank, but allows us to assemble, package, box, and load specific shipments for them. Our vice chairman and C.E.O., Jim Ukrop, led last year's annual fundraising campaign. I have helped in researching new sites for the food bank warehouse as well as a branch facility to serve rural areas.
Ukrop's is a participant in the Prepared and Perishable Food Rescue Program, to further increase distribution of usable, but unsaleable foods and USDA products, and exploration of alternative processing methods for maintaining shelf stability of fresh meats and produce. This program was one of the first of the 40 programs operating in the U.S. We also help with the annual Harvest Drive that supplements the Foodbank's food supply by collecting canned goods through community based food drives throughout the year. We are often asked by community groups that designate the Foodbank in food drives to be their collection point. Our trucks can then make streamlined deliveries to the Foodbank.
Ukrop's also participates in an innovative state program, called the Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Program, which employs state tax credits as incentives for business partnerships between the private and public sectors to assist the economically deprived. These tax credits are applied for as grants and then are awarded for specific programs. These funds have helped expand our company participation in projects for the Foodbank. Last year we received a $175,000 tax credit. When you consider the $1.4 million in food products we donated, this is a very efficient way to get food to the needy.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Supermarket companies are donating a great variety of both food and nonfood items to food banks. In addition, many companies donate in-kind services and other resources. Many more are providing technical expertise and more are donating money directly to food banks. Over half of the companies sponsor food drives and other events to support food banks. This brings the community together and encourages customers to support food banks. Many supermarket companies use the Internal Revenue Service tax deduction for donations of inventory (T.D. 3962), which provides some additional incentive to donate.
Cooperation among the food banks, supermarket companies and manufacturers helps ensure that industry food handling standards are maintained. Second Harvest food banks monitor their associated agencies to ensure the food is handled properly.
The Food Marketing Institute's 1996 Community Relations Survey of its members, asked retailers to quantify and prioritize their community relations activities. As you might expect, food banks are a large part of most supermarkets' community programs. For instance, the survey shows:
82 percent of the respondents donate to food banks, 50 percent donate equipment or supplies, 34 percent coordinate food drives, 22 percent operate reclamation centers
In community relations, the four areas that supermarkets are most likely to be involved with are partnering with local schools or youth groups, donating to food banks, partnering with local community groups and sponsoring special events.
Also, when asked to identify the top community relations priority, 17 percent rated hunger programs as the chief priority. Large companies (those with 50 or more stores) were slightly more apt to highlight hunger programs, with 29 percent of the respondents, representing thousands of stores, identifying hunger programs as the top priority.
FMI has done five surveys since 1982, which illustrate retailers' support of food banks over the years. The number of supermarkets donating to food banks has grown steadily and has more than tripled in 14 yearsfrom 25 percent in 1982 to 82 percent in 1996. These percentages reflect: A strong commitment within the supermarket industry to find ways to work with food banks. The growth in the food bank network. More cooperation among supermarket companies, manufacturers and charities. Consistent effort by FMI and other grocery industry associations to promote food banks. The continued proficiency of Second Harvest. The incentive provided by T.D. 3962, the Federal tax deduction contributors can receive for donating inventory items.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC FMI executives and member companies have served on the Second Harvest Board of Directors since 1982, and in 1983 FMI established a task force to build support for food banks. In the last 15 years FMI has:
Worked closely with Second Harvest to provide standards, staff training and technical advice for food handling and sanitation, in addition to foundation and grant assistance. Developed the Association Outreach Program, which encouraged other food trade associations to support food banks. Created training programs for store personnel on how to properly sort, store and handle damaged products for food banks and other charity programs. Monitored legislation and regulatory proposals related to food banks and hunger relief. Regularly publicized members' food bank programs. Surveyed FMI membership periodically to gauge involvement with food banks. Encouraged exhibitors to donate food and other products after FMI national conventions. Promoted White House programs to recognize businesses and employees for their charitable efforts.
How Else Are Food Banks Supported? FMI's survey show that many companies donate in-kind services and other resources. Many donate technical expertise and money, staff to serve on foodbank boards, as well as transportation and equipment.
Reclamation Centers Reclamation centers are generally third-party operators who receive, sort, invoice and distribute unsaleable products. Distribution options include returns to the manufacturer, recycling and repacking, reselling, destroying or donating to charity. When food banks and reclamation centers maintain a strong relationship, this can maximize contributions to charity. The advantages of reclamation centers to supermarket companies include: Relieving the wholesaler from administrative and operations duties connected to damaged or otherwise unmarketable goods. A centralized system that can save time and money for those handling damaged products. Supermarket companies can receive credit for damaged product. While in FMI's 1996 Supermarket Community Relations Survey, the median number of 22 percent of those responding operate reclamation centers, that number is 25.6 percent for those with 1149 stores and 71.4 percent for those with 50 or more stores.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC New Cooperation Reflects Changes in Supply Chain
Supermarkets are continuing to heavily support food banks despite changes in the supply chain that reduce the amount of excess inventory. New programs devised by food banks in concert with manufacturers and distributors are encouraging supermarket cooperation.
As packaging and distribution efficiencies in the food industry reduce the amount of damaged and unsaleable merchandise available for distribution to food banks, so Second Harvest has begun a number of programs to increase the percentage of such merchandise that goes to food banks, and to develop new sources of donations. The newest program, Production Alliance, is an effort to have manufacturers produce some products directly for Second Harvest. Pillsbury is the first manufacturer to become involved in that effort. Second Harvest is also trying to expand the number of reclamation centers operated by food banks to process unsaleables for retailers. FMI serves on Second Harvest's Reclamation Center Industry Advisors Team. In a third effort, Harvest Scan, Second Harvest food banks provide specific information on donated merchandise to participating manufacturers. For supermarkets, the expansion of the reclamation centers is perhaps the most important program. As food banks begin to run reclamation centers, it provides an opportunity for the partnership with supermarkets to improve. The reclamation service can be provided for less cost than other contractors because there is not a profit motive. A&P in Milwaukee, for example, has turned over its reclamation work to that city's food-bank program. Only six of the food banks affiliated with Second Harvest currently run reclamation centersin Milwaukee; Cincinnati; Nashville, Tenn.; McKeesport, Penn., near Pittsburgh; Tyler, Texas; and Omaha, Neb. At these sites, damaged and unsaleable merchandise is scanned and the information compiled so it can be reported to manufacturers.
Perishable Programs. There is also increased interest in taking prepared foods, both from restaurants and from supermarkets as they expand their prepared food programs. Since 1992, the Kansas City, MO-based food rescue network, Foodchain, has worked with restaurants, corporations and other food industry organizations to distribute prepared and perishable food to soup kitchens, day-care centers, shelters and other feeding agencies. Foodchain is a national network of 138 food rescue programs that collect prepared and perishable foods for distribution to nearly 7,000 local social service feeding agencies.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Three of every four Foodchain programs work with a supermarket to recover prepared and perishable food. Large chains such as Albertsons, Publix, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Spartan Stores and Food Lion currently work with Foodchain on local levels. Many of the network's programs also collect produce, but because the weight and bulk of produce is so great, it is sent to a reclamation center, where it can be handled quickly and efficiently.
These efforts can be expanded upon at the local level, but must proceed very carefully. Restaurants and those operators in the food distribution chain not already involved in food donation should be encouraged to participate. Close attention to food safety, especially in the perishable and prepared foods area is paramount so as not to tarnish or perhaps jeopardize the donation of goods nationwide.
Retailer Involvement. Over the years, most retailers have developed relationships with their local food banks. In general, supermarkets donate more on a local level than through national programs.
Retailer programs vary widely from company to company. For instance Stop & Shop, a Quincy, Massachusetts-based retailer, has been involved with the Greater Boston Food Bank since 1979. For the last few years, the company has donated more than $13 million to area food banks each year, including monetary contributions, donated product and in-kind support such as repairs, maintenance and transportation. Company chairman Bob Tobin is a member of the Second Harvest Board, while Terry Vandewater, director of public affairs, serves on the board of the Greater Boston Food Bank. Other employees are members of local boards serving their operating areas of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. In 1994 Stop & Shop became the first retailer to win Second Harvest's ''Grocery Distribution Award,'' an annual award that recognizes exemplary service and support to food banks. One of Stop & Shop's most effective hunger relief programs is its ''Food for Friends'' campaign, which is made up of three components. The first is a 40-page coupon book including information about hunger issues and food banks. For every coupon a customer redeems, Stop & Shop donates five centsup to $150,000to the Second Harvest Food Bank Network and its New England members. The second component is the food drive in the spring. The third component is the fundraising done by individual store teams for four weeks every fall. Store employees encourage food and dollar donations through events such as car washes, golf tournaments, bake sales and dunk tanks. Just last week they kicked off their ''Food for Friends'' food donation program.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Supermarket companies have also helped develop food banks from the ground up. H.E. Butt Grocery Company, based in Texas, helped found the Texas food bank network, which has become one of the country's largest regional food bank programs. They received the Hunger's Hope Award for Grocery Distributor Support from the Second Harvest National Food Bank Network. H.E. Butt's contributions support 15 food banks, 14 in Texas and one in Mexico.
Liz Minyard, co-chairman of Minyard Food Stores, Coppell, Texas, has been active in the North Texas Food Bank program since it began in 1982. Minyard's, like other chains, donates food, plus paper bags, office furniture, shelves and warehouse racks. They also donate fresh produce as part of their regular contribution. Minyard serves on the Board of Directors of Second Harvest. Minyard's is also a resource to the food bank on things like running a warehouse and providing help or advice on industry procedures.
The Kroger Co., headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, was the second recipient of the Second Harvest Grocery Distributor Award. They received the award based on participation in a wide variety of areas, such as product donation, board representation, technical assistance, funding and event sponsorship.
These are just a few of the individual company programs to help feed those in need. There are many, many more examples that could be cited. In addition, several broader industry programs are in place. These include:
Checkout Hunger, a program that encourages supermarket customers to ''round up'' their checkout totals and donate the extra funds to food banks, continues to grow in popularity around the country and raises thousands of dollars for local food banks. The program consists of bar-coded, tear-off coupons for $1, $2 or $3 located at the checkout stand that are handed to the cashier and scanned. The amount appears on the customer's receipt as a food bank donation. The area food bank receives the amount collected at the end of the fundraiser, which generally runs four to six weeks.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sister Hook-Up, a program that many food bank agencies rely on every day to help feed the needy. Day-old bread, outdated dairy products, or overripe produce, mislabeled products or cans damaged in shipment are donated directly to local food bank agencies, such as neighborhood soup kitchens, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, or homeless shelters. Giant Food Inc., based in Washington, D.C. has been involved since the early 1980's, in cooperation with the Capital Area Community Food Bank (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) and the Maryland Food Bank for the state of Maryland. Since it was not feasible for Giant and/or the food banks to send trucks out to the nearly 700 feeding programs operating in the Baltimore/Washington area, the food banks decided to act as facilitators between their agencies and the stores. As facilitators, the food banks are responsible for ''hooking-up'' their agencies with the Giant stores. Additionally, the food banks monitor the agencies at least twice a year to ensure that they still are serving the community, are eligible for the program and have appropriate facilities to support it. Once the ''hook-up'' is made, the food banks step back and let the agencies meet directly with the store managers and receivers to determine the pickup days and times. This arrangement is ideal because it allows the agencies and stores themselves to continually evaluate the ''hook-up.'' This way they can ensure that the agencies' volunteers come to the stores at convenient times, and when the maximum amount of unsaleable food is available. Giant has carried this program forward into every area where they do business, which now involves the cooperation of six major Second Harvest member food banks. At least one agency is ''hooked-up'' to every one of their stores, and a year-long waiting list for agencies that are hoping to become part of this successful program. In total, they donate approximately two million pounds of food to participating agencies annually.
Fast Forward To End Hungera partnership between the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the End Hunger Networkis an in-store fundraising program designed to raise consumer awareness and contribute directly to the community where funds are raised; 100 percent of the money goes to the local food bank. Last year, Fast Forward raised more than $1 million in just three months. This year's campaign was launched with the VSDA Show in July, and continues through the fall. Supermarkets with video departments can participate by simply placing a canister on the counter . The canister, point-of sale materials, media kits, operating and administrative costs are paid for by the Fast Forward To End Hunger founding sponsors. Celebrity public service announcements are available on in-store loops and as trailers on some videos. For more information contact Kelli Clayton at 800/955-VSDA.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a board member of the Central Virginia Foodbank I would like to share with you the public-private-partnerships with food banks that have been successful in our operating area.
Virginia's Table/Enabler Prepared and Perishable Food Rescue Program. The Virginia's Table/Enabler program is designed to bring food to those who need it most, in an efficient and effective manner. The Central Virginia Foodbank coordinates with food donors to allow member organizations to pick up directly from the donor site. The program assists members in acquiring food without traveling to the Foodbank. Donor participants in this program include: Ukrop's Super Markets, Food Lion, Pizza Hut, Fast Marts and other retailers. The program originated after the Good Samaritan Law was passed in 1990, due to the enormous amount of prepared and perishable food that was being wasted. Members are trained in safe food handling and storage before being allowed to pick up the food. Currently the Foodbank is concentrating its efforts on establishing more food donors in rural areas. This will enable organizations that have to travel a long distance to the Foodbank, a more efficient and effective way to expand their services of feeding those in need.
Virginia State Tax Credits. The Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Program, created by the 1981 Virginia General Assembly, employs state tax credits as incentives for businesses that contribute directly to approved neighborhood assistance organizations. This is a unique STATE program which emphasizes partnerships between the private and public sectors to assist the economically deprived. Activities sponsored under the program include education, job training, housing assistance, free health care clinics and community services. The state tax credit is 45 percent of their total contribution. The program has a streamlined application and minimum record keeping requirements. Documentation of the contribution is maintained by our company and the Central Virginia Foodbank.
Public-Private Partnerships of the Central Virginia Foodbank. Since 1995, the Central Virginia Foodbank has had a public-private partnership with the Virginia Department of Corrections, called the ''Food Rescue Project.'' Salvage from grocery stores, USDA Soup Kitchen Commodities and TEFAP (Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program) foods are handled by prison inmates who inventory, sort and categorize salvage making it easier for the more than 500 member agencies to access and distribute to those in need. Sorting and categorizing product has streamlined the feeding programs' access to food and has assisted with inventory control, helping the Foodbank achieve a 19.6 percent increase in total pounds distributed in 1995 and a 49 percent increase in 1996. The project has enhanced morale among inmates by offering them an opportunity to perform community service and providing them with work experience and job training skills. Because of this collaborative effort, more than 1,502,427 meals were provided to central Virginians in need including children of low-income families, the elderly, people with disabilities and the homeless. The Food Rescue Project won the Second Harvest national 1997 Hunger's Hope Award for Innovation Resources and Model Programs.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, I am extremely proud of Ukrop's involvement with the Central Virginia Foodbank. Supermarket operators recognize their responsibility to the communities they serve, and I believe, our industry's commitment to food banking is an example of what can be accomplished through the use of public-private partnerships.
TESTIMONY OF PHIL GRASTY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLUE RIDGE AREA FOOD BANK, INC.
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is a certified affiliate member of the Second Harvest Food Bank Network in Chicago. Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is one of 185 affiliate Food Banks connected with the Second Harvest Network. We have an assigned service area of 25 counties and nine cities in northwestern Virginia. We serve this large territory through four branch distribution centers located in Verona, VA, Winchester, VA, Charlottesville, VA and Lynchburg, VA. Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Inc. is a Virginia corporation holding an IRS 501(c)(3) determination. Since beginning operations in November 1981, we have distributed more than 50 million pounds of food to the needy.
Through a unique partnership with over five hundred local churches and non-profit food providers, food is provided at no cost to needy individuals and families. Through a very professional and efficient distribution system, Second Harvest Food Banks are able to provide food to these member agencies that distribute the food as low as ten cents per pound share contribution/handling charge. Local churches are required to determine income levels and obtain other information from prospective clients. The heavy concentration of volunteers both at the Food Bank and the church or food pantry enables this unique system to function properly. Blue Ridge Area Food Bank along with other Second Harvest Food Banks is operated like a business, as indeed it should be. We meet all the Second Harvest criteria and compliances for food industry sanitation, food handling, temperature control, etc. We are also monitored by the IRS, the FDA, Virginia Department of Agriculture and all the agencies that are engaged in certifying food distribution operations.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When Food Banks were originally formed in the eighties, the concept was to meet two particular problems. One of those was the lack of food for those who were in need and the other was the fact that much food was being wasted and either discarded or sold for salvage. All sectors of the food industry are continuously solicited by Food Banks. The grower, the processor, the manufacturer, the wholesaler, the retailer; any body that touches any food is contacted by Food Bank personnel. As time went on, many new Food Banks came on the scene and were added to the Second Harvest Food Bank Network. While this was taking place, the food industry was becoming much more aware of their loss problem, their waste problem, and they were tightening up their security and computerizing ordering systems and there was subsequently less food available. As a result of these factors, food donated from the food industry decreased. The number of Food Banks coming on board resulted in smaller pieces of the pie for existing Food Banks. Food Banks receive food from a half dozen sources. One of those being the supermarket reclamation centers that handle food that is rejected by the retail store for various reasons, label change or code date problem product damaged in some way. Food Banks pick up food from reclamation centers and sort it and throw away the unusable and make the balance available to the member agencies. Another source of food is national donors through Second Harvest. This is the area that has been affected most by the food industry tightening of their food security systems. Another area is direct from wholesalers. A small portion of the Food Bank food comes from these companies. The retail store provides a limited amount of food to the Food Banks. Local processors who process locally grown product and have major operations in Food Bank service areas provide food also. A classic example of this would be Rocco Industries, Wampler Long-Acre and some of the other poultry producers in the Blue Ridge Area. Since the days of the cheese and dairy product glut, Second Harvest Food Banks have been distributors of USDA commodities. USDA emergency assistance programs products provide Food Banks with the largest variety and the highest nutrition value of any group of products that we currently receive. While these products only represent fifteen to twenty percent of our total product movement, they are very valuable and would be very hard to replace. Sadly many small churches do not have the staff or ability to meet the extreme record keeping requirements of USDA so they do not use them. Most often the truly needy, are served by these small groups. As you know, TEFAP products in Virginia are administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The relationship between Food Banks and that department are at a very high level and we have a very strong partnership. Also, the Food Banks serve on the Commodity Advisory Conical for the State and we have been able to provide these products to every corner of Virginia to people that really need them. TEFAP commodities are an indispensable part of most Second Harvest Food Bank's operation.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a local Food Bank, we see welfare reform as a very positive thing that could subsequently save taxpayers' millions of dollars. While the government should not be a sole provider to the needy, they definitely have a facilitating role that is unquestionably their responsibility. Many former welfare recipients will be looking to food pantries and soup kitchens to provide supplemental food. Minimum wage jobs often tend to move people over into the working-poor sector. They are earning money, but not enough to provide their family's needs. Second Harvest Food Banks are gearing up to meet this increase that is swiftly approaching.
In reviewing the 15-year track record of the Blue Ridge Food Bank, as one of the most successful rural Food Banks in the country, it is very difficult to determine just what enabled us to succeed. Many factors are involved; the community leaders that serve on our Board of Directors, the many hundreds of volunteers involved in our member agencies and in the Food Bank operation that have provided many years of service to the Food Bank, our thousands of cash donors who have provided operational and programmatic funds to enable us to perform effectively, our staff of 25 professional employees, the support that we have received from the media in our service area, the general sharing and caring of the communities we serve. Indeed, all these things have been a part of our success. In looking at the total picture, one thing becomes very apparent. We are always quick to say that we are not a government agency or that we are not connected with the government in any way. A look at reality tells us that one of the major reason for our success is the public-private-non-profit partnerships that we have developed along the way. That is really the way many things are getting done in this country. It is cost efficient and effective and must continue and expand in order that people's needs can be met. One classic example of public-private-non-profit partnership is a program we call Super Pantry that we have operated for over a year. Super Pantry is a life skills program whereby we teach low-income food recipients how to budget their finances, how to prepare more nutritionally complete meals, about banking, legal affairs and self-confidence. Motivational speakers are also part of the program. It goes for 7 weeks and the graduates become much better equipped to function for themselves. This program is a Blue Ridge Area Food Bank program but, we could not conduct it without the public-private-non-profit partnership that exists. Virginia Tech provides us with nutritional training and cooperative extension personnel are involved in planning and conducting Super Pantry. On the Federal level, VISTA volunteers are made available to Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to use in this program and our private sector funders provide finances to operate the program. So it's a classic public-private-non-profit partnership and it gets things done without a great deal of bureaucratic red tape. Super Pantry has grown rapidly and all the partners work together to make it happen. It has been a real successful experience to us and a real benefit to the low-income recipients who have participated in Super Pantry. I could go on with other experiences in public-private-non-profit partnerships that have resulted in fantastic results with much, much less expense than a government program.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC TEFAP is in fact another prime example of public-private-non-profit partnerships. The distribution of TEFAP commodities through Food Banks is far and away the most efficient method USDA could use for distribution of these products. With less and less public dollars being available for feeding the hungry, public-private-non-profit partnerships have become the wave of the future for getting things done the most cost effectively. The maintenance and expansion of TEFAP funding would ensure needy people are being fed through the most efficient system possible.
The partnership between USDA and Food Banks is providing nutritious foods to needy people in a very cost effective manner. There is surely much less abuse because of the local familiarity with food recipients. The volunteer system reduces the cost of this distribution immensely. Making available more TEFAP products would be the most significant thing the government could do for the needy at the least cost. This form of public-private-non-profit partnerships gets the whole community involved. Private funders, government finances and resources, the involvement of many volunteers, the Food Bank's in place delivery system, all these things put together result in the most cost effective program available. We at Blue Ridge Area Food Bank have progressed this far because of public-private-non-profit partnerships. They have been an integral part of our success and the expansion of these public-private-non-profit partnerships would only be a step towards meeting human needs at a much lower figure for the government and would be invaluable to all parties concerned. Public-private-non-profit partnerships are nothing new. They make the best use of resources from all sectors.
TESTIMONY ON THE GREATER BATON ROUGE FOOD BANK
Thank you Congressman Baker, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, friends:
I am honored to have this opportunity to represent the volunteers, staff and Board of Directors of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank here today. This is a unique situation for our hunger fighting team as we have never had the chance to tell our story in such an august forum. With me is Robert Brockmann, president of Southwest Service and Supply, a company of which I will speak about shortly.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was established in 1984 to combat the hunger problem in the capital area of Louisiana. Many partners came together to create a mechanism which would not only feed hungry people, but also utilize food that was being discarded to fuel the system. From a church parking lot where day old bread and dented cans were being handed out to individuals to a 21,000 square-foot facility with a network of over 100 member agencies, the Food Bank has ''Opened its hand to the needy'' for over 12 years. On the average, 3,200 people a day are assisted through our collaboration of group homes, meal sites, shelters, pantries and specially classified agencies. Over 60 percent of those we serve are classified as elderly or children; while 6 percent are homeless.
Last year, the Food Bank distributed over 2,750,000 pounds of food, 96 percent of which was donated. This food was provided free of charge to our agencies (most food banks charge 12 to 14 cents a pound for the food they provide to their partners). The value of this food is conservatively estimated at $4,125,000. In addition, over 21,000 hours of time (worth $277,344) was donated by our volunteers. In 1996, we also distributed $76,316.15 worth of USDA Commodities to our agencies that want to participate in that segment of our program. All of this was done with a cash budget of $396,000; 6.8 percent of which is from the government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency by way of the Stewart B. McKinney Actdollars which can only be spent on food purchases. Therefore if you look at the entire picture, our administrative costs are less than 4 percent , and for every $1 that we receive, we can distribute nearly $12 worth of food.
This has all been made possible by creating a public and private partnership. There are many hands that make this work possiblegovernment, individuals, corporations, civic groups, private companies, funders, the grocery industry, farmers, produce companies, restaurantsall represented by everyday men, women, young adults and childrenwho have made this food bank work.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have been fortunate to have a progressive Board of Directors. Through their leadership, the Food Bank has been able to: create our State's first prepared and perishable food rescue program, Lagniappe du Coeur (Extra From the Heart), which has rescued more than 489,000 pounds of food this year, stage a successful capital campaign which raised more than $525,000 to secure our new home (which will be paid off by the end of this year1 full year ahead of schedule), plan a community garden to supplement our supply of fresh vegetables, and contract with a team to organize our reclamation center - a partnership that impressed Speaker Gingrich, Congressmen Livingston and Cooksey when they were brought for a tour by Congressman Baker in June of this year.
The success of the reclamation center is because of alliances with several partners, those being: Associated Grocers of Louisiana (AG), a local independent grocery wholesaler in Baton Rouge; the New Orleans Division of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. (A&P), a national grocery chain with headquarters in New Jersey; and Southwest Service and Supply, a private company which operates reclamation centers throughout the United States. The process is simple. Damaged products from AG and A&P are sent to the Food Bank warehouse where they are processed by employees of Southwest. Each item is scanned using a system similar to the ones used in grocery stores. The credit given to grocery chains by the product manufacturers is then used to pay Southwest for their services. The Food Bank then receives the merchandise.
The system works so well because all sides benefit. The vendors get their damaged product processed cheaply and efficiently, Southwest has established a productive small business and created 10 jobs in the Baton Rouge market, and the Food Bank receives an additional 1 million pounds of food that may not have been available to them. In addition, Southwest began to pay rent to the Food Bank for the space which they occupy adding approximately $10,000 in additional revenue to the Food Bank's coffers. And finally, through this process, grocery chains are able to free up expensive warehouse space in a competitive industry, Southwest adds a new facet to their reclamation business and the Food Bank does not have to add the administrative costs associated with running its own reclamation center.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, this is a win win situation for all involved. It is important to note that because of this alliance, the Food Bank has a steady supply of food, effectively eliminating times when we would be short of food supplies to meet our agencies' needs.
The Food Bank is truly a community organization composed of people of all races, creeds, social strata and ages. It has become recognized as an efficient and fair organization that is progressive and hardworking. All of the ingredients of this story are located in every community in our country. With dedication, commitment and compassion these entities can partner together to fashion a full plate for all.
Thank you again for this privilege. If you would like additional written information about this novel program, please feel free to contact me, Robert Brockmann or any of the parties mentioned. I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have.
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