THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

461

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to food security.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that accessing fresh, diverse, nutritious, healthy food on a weekly basis is a significant challenge for many individuals and families in the State. According to Feeding America, a nonprofit network of over two hundred food banks nationwide, there has been a fifty-one per cent increase in the number of families experiencing food insecurity in the State since 2019. A 2021 study by the University of Hawaii found that forty-eight per cent of Hawaii's families with children report food insecurity. Hawaii Foodbank also reported that, in 2021, one out of every four children in the State were at risk of going hungry. It is estimated that more than eighty thousand children in the State will struggle with hunger this year.

Providing weekly access to healthy food also is critical to the disabled, kupuna (elderly), ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and veteran populations who are impacted by food insecurity. Access to healthy food options on a weekly basis also will improve the health of the State's population that is impacted by heart disease and diabetes.

The legislature further finds that food insecurity levels remain elevated after the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic period. Food pantries and food banks provide a safety net for local families facing ongoing food insecurity caused by natural disasters, economic pressures, inflation, or the high cost of living in the State. According to Feeding Hawaii Together, dba The Pantry by Feeding Hawaii Together (The Pantry), the only free e-commerce food pantry and the only year-round food distribution site in the State, the frequent distribution of food ensures that those who are food insecure do not go hungry.

Nonprofit food distributors, such as The Pantry are funded through donations, purchases, and federal programs. However, food purchasing costs have increased twenty-five per cent in the past three years, exacerbating an already existing structural issue of food insecurity in the State's most vulnerable populations. As food costs have increased for individuals and families, food pantries and food banks have also experienced such increases, along with growing demand and supply chain issues.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to appropriate funds to contract with service providers for the purchase, storage, and operational costs of food distribution to Hawaii families.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 to contract with service providers for the purchase, storage, and operational costs of food of food distribution in the State; provided that a maximum of fifteen per cent of the total sum may be expended on administrative costs.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the office of community services for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Food Security; Office of Community Services; Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Appropriation

 

Description:

Appropriates funds for the purchase, storage, and operational costs of food distribution in the State.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.