AUSTIN- Today, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller respectfully requested Governor Abbott utilize unexpended State CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding to support Food Banks and Rural Hospitals statewide. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the State of Texas, Food Banks and Rural Hospitals continue to provide resources to assist the citizens of Texas. Unexpended CARES funding provided to the Governor’s Office will not be allowed to be expended after the December 31, 2020 expiration of the funding provided by the CARES Act.
Rural Hospitals in Texas continue to deal with dwindling revenues and the ever-increasing cost of care. COVID-19 has further strained the resources available to the remaining 163 rural hospitals. A $1.2 million grant to the rural hospitals would help facilities serve their communities in a more effective manner and would alleviate some of the financial strain that these hospitals have experienced.
“We can all agree 2020 has been a tough year for everyone,” Commissioner Miller said. “And let’s face it, rural hospitals in Texas have had their share of challenges long before the pandemic. When these hospitals are forced to close their doors, folks are denied access to healthcare and it’s in times like these that they need it most. We’ve got to keep rural hospitals on their feet and with the Governor’s help we can do just that.”
Food insecurity has doubled among Texas families during this pandemic and the need to provide resources is ongoing. TDA requests that a $2 million grant be distributed to food banks to help them feed the needs of Texans. Additionally, a grant of $1.3 million for the TDA Home Delivered Meals program would help programs like Meals on Wheels reach out to those Texans who need meal assistance but are unable to leave home.
“TDA has always been on the forefront of fighting hunger,” Commissioner Miller said. “Keeping Texans healthy and strong starts with access to proper nutrition. There has been an overwhelming increase in requests for food assistance during this pandemic. Food banks have done a fantastic job aiding those struggling to put food on the table but there is still a sincere need to continue feeding folks throughout our communities.”
These funds would offset the cuts TDA was required to make to meet the General Revenue reduction target Governor Abbott requested earlier this year.