Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of Texans seeking food bank assistance has risen 200%. This dramatic increase in food insecurity has caused immeasurable stress and suffering, eroding the health and wellbeing of people across the state. In the midst of this greatly increased need for help, the surplus agricultural products grant, a key aspect of food bank support, has been drastically cut. If this reduction remains in place, the opportunity to acquire almost 20 million pounds of healthy local produce will be lost. Hunger involves quantifiable economic costs in the form of increased health care and social service needs, inferior educational outcomes, and lost productivity. The Perryman Group estimates that cutting the surplus agricultural products grant would cost the state economy hundreds of millions of dollars over time, with economic harms spreading across the entire economy. Because economic activity generates taxes, the cut would also lead to reductions in State and local taxes. State costs for health care and education would also rise due to the effects of hunger.
The United States recently reached a tragic milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic when the number of lives lost reached 500,000. The suffering and hardships imposed by these losses are incalculable and the primary concern, with few Americans not personally affected in some way