HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An economic tit-for-tat in the tariff struggle between China and the U.S. is helping fight hunger at home.
Food that China wont buy is pouring into Long Island food banks, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.
Eggplants. Peppers. Corn. Soybeans.
Millions of pounds of food that American farmers cannot sell to Chinese markets are now flooding the docks of food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.
“The U.S. is in a trade war with China. It’s a back-and-forth ping pong game,” said Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares.
Pachter, who oversees the Harry Chapin Region Food Bank, advises the USDA on trade mitigation.
“Therein lies the challenge for the government, what do we do with the hundreds of thousands of farmers in the country to make them whole,” Pachter said.
Multi-billion dollar U.S. bailouts for growers and producers mean meats and other perishables need to find their way fast to America’s hungry.
“We know it is the result of what’s going on in trade, our limitations are due to that. However, it has been a great benefit for us to have the food that we need so desperately need,” said Noelle Campbell of the Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch. “We are getting lunch meat and pork loin. The produce is just awesome.”
High-quality fresh fruits and vegetables are coveted, as 10 percent of Long Islanders can’t afford them and go to bed hungry. Food that china wont buy — cheddar cheese, peas, rice, pork, juice — fresh and canned are now feeding 250,000 Long Island’s needy.
“A windfall for the food banks and a windfall for the people in America who are hungry,” Pachter said.
The Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says this is a short-term solution to allow President Donald Trump time to work on long-term trade deals.
“This is a temporary solution and fix for the American farmer, but also a temporary benefit for the food banks,” Pachter said. “This is not an ongoing source of food.”
Federal intervention may be fleeting, and food bank leaders say they still need boxed goods, canned goods and outreach from volunteers. America’s hungry require continued support and compassion.