Our Daily Bread Food Pantry may have less to help the hungry as a result of federal legislation. (Courtesy photo)

Catholic Charities food pantry affected by recent farm bill
Recent Farm bill reductions might mean less food for hungry families, according to Matt Tannehill, director of Our Daily Bread Food Pantry in Wichita.
Congress passed a $867 billion farm bill Dec. 12, that included provisions for protections of global and domestic nutrition programs. The commodity programs are critical to protecting vulnerable groups from food insecurity.
Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, a ministry of Catholic Charities receives food from The Emergency Food Assistance Program known as TEFAP. The program helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.
The United States Department of Agriculture buys the food, usually cans and perishables, and ships it to the states. The amount received by each state depends on its low-income and unemployed populations. State agencies work out details of administration and distribution. They select local organizations that either directly distribute to households or serve meals, or distribute to other local organizations that perform these functions.
TEFAP allows pantries to purchase items from food banks in bulk, so they can tailor more food for those who are eligible.
Matt Tannehill, director of Our Daily Bread Food Pantry said the reauthorization of TEFAP helps the pantry.
“It is good because when we offer TEFAP commodities we can close down our normal stock,” said Tannehill. “This helps keep our pantry stocked.”
However, The new bill was reduced from the previously recommended funding level of $350 million to $250 million instead.
Tannehill said the reduction means less food available at all levels. “Then we have to find another way through donations to keep the shelves full.”
Tannehill said the Farm Bill remains one of the most important ways the nation can demonstrate its solidarity with the poor and hungry. “It serves the common good,” he said.
But it doesn’t mean Tannehill is out of a job quite yet.
“Commodities are great because it means families can receive more food, and different types of food, than with our regular program,” he said. “But less money affects families’ tables.”

Food pantry needs transport, stocking help
Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, a ministry of Catholic Charities, is seeking individuals to transport food from the Kansas Food Bank to the pantry. Volunteers drive an agency box truck to the food bank, load the items, and deliver them to the pantry to unload and stock the items.
Pantry director Matt Tannehill said volunteers impact the community.
“Our mission is not only to provide groceries but also to provide a dignified experience for all those entering our doors,” said Tannehill. “Our goal is for our pantry to visibly reflect this mission, and we need people to help us achieve it.”
The pantry is also seeking people to help sort and stock food.
Other than Tannehill, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry is operated entirely by volunteers. They help provide visitors with the pantry’s client-choice food distribution process.
Clients shop with a volunteer personal assistant to help them choose foods their families will enjoy. Tannehill said this model of service requires more volunteers than a regular pantry.
“Without their help and dedication to our program and to the families we serve, we would not be able to operate.”
Want to help the pantry?
Volunteers are needed to pickup food at the Kansas Food Bank at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays; at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays; and at 2 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month. To volunteer, call Matt Tannehill at (316) 264-8344 ext. 1504 or email mtannehill@CatholicCharitiesWichita.org.
Volunteer drivers need to have a good driving record and be able to move heavy boxes. Those with experience driving large trucks and those who know how to use a pallet jack are encouraged to inquire about volunteering.