(KPAX) The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has provided an unexpected bonus for food banks in Montana, as exports usually sent overseas go to families in need nationwide.
Seventy service providers in Montana use The Emergency Food Assistance Program, according to Brent Weisgram with the Montana Food Bank Network.
“For a lot of them, in small communities that don’t have a lot of resources, it can be their primary source of food that they have available to give out their pantries,” Weisgram said.
TEFAP is USDA funded and is receiving a huge boost as part of President Donald Trump’s multi-billion dollar agriculture bailout plan.
Now, food that would go to China, is being sent instead to food banks nationwide, providing a bonus for those distribution centers.
In Montana, Weisgram said the Food Bank Network will be able to distribute over 1 million more pounds of food than last year to service providers across the state.
And it’s not just more food. Its healthier food, he said.
Weisman said families will have access to beef, pork, chicken, fresh produce and fresh milk, all of which have higher prices at a grocery store and which haven’t always been available at local food banks.
Nearly 1 in 9 Montanans struggle with hunger.
The Montana Food Bank Network partners with 140 agencies across Montana, bringing food to more than 100,000 people last year.