The Orange County Food Bank has received word it will only receive about half as much federal money this year as it did in 2011.
The federal money comes in at this time each year to help serve those in need during the holidays. This year the Food Bank will receive $249,000 in federal support, as compared with $481,000 last year.
The funding drop comes after several years of increased need for the food bank’s services during the recession.
“The needs have grown by 49% since 1998, but we can only meet about 60% of that need,” said Alan Woo, The Orange County Food Bank’s Director of Planning and Program Development.
Woo says two main factors have contributed to the 50% cut in federal funding.
Many resources have been diverted to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy. And, he says even though we haven’t gone off the fiscal cliff yet, the food bank is already seeing the effects.
“It just trickles down to us,” said Woo. “They ask you to do the same amount of people with less money. So we’re sitting hear saying ‘OK, Ms. Jones gets a can of corn. Do we split that can of corn four ways, or what?’”
Food Bank officials hasten to point out that the federal funding only represents a tiny fraction of the operation's overall budget.
Many donations come from individuals and businesses, which the food bank says are needed now more than ever.