"We can not afford to discard food that could be eaten by other people who are in need in our community," says Dave Stegmaier, the Director of Community Outreach for Rep Frank Wolf (R-VA).
Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10th), championed legislation that allows public schools to donate unused food to food banks, ending long-standing rules that required schools to throw the food away.
"He made an amendment to a spending bill, having to do with the department of agriculture, to clarify that schools would be covered by the "Good Samaritan Law", if they were to contribute to food pantries and food banks," says Stegmaier of Rep. Wolf (R-VA).
Local public school officials say it is too early to comment on the new law. But, Congressman Wolf's office says it has already taken the initial steps to build the new donation network between schools and food banks.
"Congressman Wolf's office has been in touch with all of the local district superintendents who have said to a person they would be happy to reach out to the individual schools and getting them involved," says Stegmaier.
Lord Fairfax Food Bank says they are also in the early stages of research, but welcome the new law.
"We do have a lot of partners that are doing the pantries and the soup kitchens that can get the food to the people in need, says Jarrett Tomalesky, Branch Manager at Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Lord Fairfax Division. "So, that's what we're going to be relying on," he adds. "We are the distribution point to get food out to the pantries."
Tomalesky says that with growing numbers of hungry families in the area, any food increase is good news
"A lot of people are ignorant to the fact of just how many people are food insecure in this area. It's alarming knowing that we're serving over 30,00 people in 7 counties in
Congressman Wolfe refers to the law as "a commonsense change that is long overdue." And, for efforts to close the widening hunger gap, it's certainly a step in the right direction.