The Tarrant Area Food Bank joined other nonprofits in a one-day social media and email campaign to tell state legislators to stop funding cuts to a grant program that provides fresh produce to hungry Texans.

On Wednesday, the food bank launched the #StoptheCut social media blitz on its Facebook and Twitter pages, and also has a blog to track the progress of the campaign, said Michael Polydoroff, a spokesman for the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

The food bank joined with Feeding Texas and 21 other food banks that oppose a 41 percent cut to the Surplus Agricultural Products Grant because of COVID-19 state budget cuts. The grant program allows food banks to procure fresh produce from Texas farmers that would otherwise go to waste.

If funds are cut to the popular grant program, hungry Texans would not receive almost 20 million pounds of fresh produce, according to a news release from the food bank.

“Our community continues to rely on the Tarrant Area Food Bank to provide fresh produce as a part of the food they are receiving in this time of crisis,” said Julie Butner, President and CEO of the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

“This grant greatly benefits our neighbors in need of food and supports our local farmers by sustaining their businesses during these uncertain times,” Butner said in the news release.

The program is overseen by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which cut the program earlier this year on instructions from the governor’s office to find savings.

“With more Texans at risk of hunger than ever before, this is not the time to be cutting a critical source of healthy, fresh produce for our community,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, the statewide network of food banks.

Food insecurity in Texas jumped from 13% to 29% following the arrival of COVID-19, according to the news release.

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With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.

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