Standing near boxes containing 20 tons of butter and cheese just donated to the Kansas Food Bank on Friday, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Wichita said he was glad the food was coming in, and glad it was coming “to a place that understands the complexity of the hunger problem in Kansas.”
“We all understand that there are a lot of folks who need help with education and shelter, and sadly, there are many people who are hungry at night in Kansas,” Pompeo said.
“This is important. What goes on in this building (the Food Bank) is incredibly important.”
The occasion for Pompeo’s remarks was the donation of 20,000 pounds of butter and 20,000 pounds of sliced American cheese by Land O’Lakes to the Food Bank.
Brian Walker, the Food Bank director, invited Pompeo to talk, in part because Pompeo’s campaign volunteers show up once a month and volunteers to pack boxes and backpacks the Food Bank delivers to needy children and adults throughout Wichita and many counties in Kansas.
Congress, sharply divided about whether to cut food stamp programs, hasn’t passed a new farm bill yet to address the intertwined issues of agriculture and hunger. But Pompeo said he flew in from Washington, D.C., to attend the Wichita event because he said everyone understands there is much poverty and many hungry people.
“And it is important for me to be here to watch people of goodwill voluntarily helping them,” he said. “Government sometimes tries to help with poverty, too, and sometimes government only makes the problems worse.”
Walker said the donated cheese and butter will help thousands of needy people in Wichita and Kansas.
“This food is going to go a long way in helping people,” he said.
The Food Bank acquires food at low cost and sends it to hundreds of food pantries and other partners that help the poor. It distributed 11 million pounds of food to 137,300 Kansans last year, the Food Bank said in a statement.
It also runs the Food4Kids backpack program, which gives backpacks of food to schoolchildren every Friday, ensuring that those who don’t eat much when away from school get more to eat.