Walorski Op-Ed: This Christmas, Here's the Playbook to Tackle Hunger

Op-Ed

Date: Dec. 24, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

The Hill
This Christmas, here's the playbook to tackle hunger
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)
December 24, 2021

Across the country, hunger is a common enemy. It plagues far too many Americans from shore to shore. No community is immune from its ravages. While many families look forward to a festive feast this Christmas, millions are struggling to provide their next meal.

Sadly, we know that current economic challenges are only exacerbating this crisis. This month, nonpartisan experts at the Penn Wharton School determined that inflation will cost U.S. households an extra $3,500 in 2021 alone.

Rising costs hit those who can least afford them the hardest. Inflation for everyday goods is a problem for every family. For seniors on a fixed income who are forced to choose between food and heat, it can be deadly.

As inflation skyrockets out of control, taking costs higher day after day, it's more important than ever to face down hunger with a strong, united front.

While not a novel issue, today's hunger crisis requires a fresh approach. As the record shows, no number of endless government checks will end this scourge. There is a clear pathway to fighting food insecurity -- and it runs straight through conservative priorities.

All too often, onerous bureaucracy, frivolous regulations, and outdated programs perpetuate existing challenges. Now is the time to get big government out of the way.

This month, I introduced new, bipartisan legislation to make it easier for restaurants, grocery stores, farms, and other businesses to donate surplus food to their neighbors. Not only will this solution help to cut down on waste, but it also will help food reach those who need it most. Eliminating burdensome obstacles to charity is just good sense.

We also can lean on existing resources. Our nation, and especially my native heartland, is blessed with a robust farming tradition. Partnering with agriculture producers to provide meals to underserved communities is a win-win.

Most importantly, we can provide real tools and training to get at-risk Americans on the path to success. By equipping individuals and families with human-based support through case management, our nation can wisely use our resources to provide Americans with workforce training and help them find and keep family-sustaining jobs. Through an approach that prioritizes upfront investment and support, we can help to end the cycle of poverty and food insecurity.

As always, we will learn valuable lessons as we go. To be responsible stewards of taxpayer resources, we must discern what works best to address hunger and food insecurity and ensure these programs are based on evidence and deliver real results.

This is the conservative blueprint to combat hunger -- but it's not just for Republicans. In the truest sense, fighting hunger is a priority that transcends politics.

In Congress, I'm proud to serve as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus as we advance commonsense solutions to combat food insecurity across the United States and beyond.

Over the years, I have been inspired by Americans' collaboration and heartfelt commitment to care for vulnerable neighbors. At home in Indiana and around the country, I have seen so many people go above and beyond to meet tangible needs. This makes our task in Congress even more urgent as we work to advance these efforts and end food insecurity for good.

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Supporting communities today with reliable access to nutritious food can help build a stronger tomorrow. When local communities can succeed, our nation and our economy will thrive.

The American people have long been characterized by a spirit of generosity. Especially during this season of giving, now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to ending hunger and equipping families to prosper. Here's to a brighter, stronger, and healthier year ahead.


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