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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Indiana Food Banks Step Up to Use Funding from Legislature

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Thursday, August 17, 2023   

It has been one month since Indiana announced food banks across the state will share $2 million in state funds, and those food banks say it cannot come soon enough.

Roughly one in seven Indiana families has difficulty putting enough nutritious food on the table, due in part to inflation and the pandemic's lingering economic effects.

The Indiana Legislature doubled the amount of aid for food banks in the state budget compared to last year. The Food Bank of Northern Indiana, celebrating its 30-year anniversary, is receiving $233,000.

Marijo Martinec, executive director and CEO of the food bank, said as the school year starts, the organization is gearing up for its 'Food 4 Kids' backpack program.

"The backpacks are distributed on Fridays," Martinec explained. "That's an incentive for a child to go to school, because then, they have that food on the weekend."

The backpacks are full of healthy snacks and meal items for students in grades K-6, and are free to eligible kids in Elkhart, Kosciusko, Laporte, Marshall, St. Joseph and Stark counties. Last year, weekend food was distributed to more than 2,600 students in 45 schools.

Stan Siegwald, director of strategic initiatives for the Dare to Care Food Bank, which harvests surplus food from communities with the help of more than 250 other nonprofits and faith groups. He said during the pandemic, food banks received larger volume from temporary emergency food programs, but the federal government recently reduced the amount by half, just when the need is greatest.

"One of the things we've done to respond to that is we have been purchasing more food," Siegwald pointed out. "We've spent 40% more in purchasing food in the past year than we did last year."

Dare to Care serves Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties. It is receiving a little over $72,000 in state funding. The amounts of state aid are based on unemployment and poverty levels in each county.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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