Reps. Soto, Frost join roundtable discussion addressing food insecurity in Central Florida
By Daryl Matthews, WFTV.com & Charles Frazier, WFTV.com
August 01, 2023 at 5:43 pm EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. — Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida hosted an in-depth discussion Tuesday about how to put and keep food on the table for thousands of families.
Officials focused on specific needs in surrounding counties and why federal assistance programs are critical to helping meet them.
A wide range of experts were represented at Tuesday’s meeting including healthcare officials, farmers and other organizations that help feed families and working parents. They all agree that more needs to be done to end the fight for the basic need for food.
“These are real world situations for me, and I can’t wait a year for y’all to make a decision. It’s a fight. How is this possible? We’re talking about food,” President of Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando Philip Flynn said to the panel. “People need to eat, so my solutions are, I don’t have any solutions. I can only save the person that’s standing in front of me, and I can’t do it without the food.”
Flynn says his organization is feeding 122 people per day. He went to Tuesday’s meeting to speak directly to U.S. Representatives Maxwell Frost (D-Orlando) and Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee), who are both working to pass a new Farm Bill that helps keep food prices fair for farmers and consumers while ensuring an adequate food supply throughout the country.
“I understand,” Frost said at the meeting. “It’s unfortunate that we go back and we’re dealing with a Republican majority that is fighting tooth and nail to take away money from families.”
More than half a million Central Floridians face some kind of food insecurity. 300,000 of them are fed through the Second Harvest Food Bank every day.
The proposed farm bill would help make it easier on struggling families, but Rep. Soto says it all comes down to one thing: funding.
“It’s always about money unfortunately,” Rep. Soto said. “How much to spend on resources to make sure seniors, make sure veterans, make sure children and people with disabilities have this safety net. The farm bill will expire in September. Rep. Soto says the new bill could take a year to pass through Congress before being signed by the President.
View the video here.