CLEVELAND — Cars lined up Wednesday in the Muni Lot for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's weekly drive-thru food distribution event. Normally they'd serve around 2,000 Northeast Ohio families but on this day, three days before Christmas, they were looking at more than double.
It's not just a holiday thing, it's a need that the food bank expects to continue to grow into the new year tied to the failure of Congress to pass an extension of the enhanced child tax credit. The last scheduled checks were sent out on December 15. A credit that Senator Sherrod Brown says has put hundreds of dollars a month into the pockets of 90% of Ohio families and in turn food on their tables.
"We know a big part of the child tax credit, the $3,000 tax cut per family, a big part of that has been, a minimum of that has been spent on food,” Brown said.
The plan put into effect this summer increases the child tax credit to $3,600 a year for each child under the age of six and to $3,000 for those between the ages of six and 18. Increases paid in $250 to $300 monthly payments that started July 15.
No monthly checks will mean families will need to cut elsewhere creating a greater need for the food bank's services.
But while the tax credit is held up with the failure to pass the president's Build Back Better proposal so too is another piece of legislation that actually provides food banks with greater federal dollars to buy food.
"So these next few weeks are really critical to our success from a fundraising standpoint,” said Karen Pozna of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. “As well and it's even more so with rising food costs and then this drop in Federal funding that we're anticipating."
Brown met this week with the food bank to talk about that and he talked Tuesday night to Senator Joe Manchin, the Democrat who at this point is the roadblock opposed to expanding the credit.
"I wish he just 100% agreed with me, he doesn’t,” Brown said. “It's a major concern if this ends, people have got it like clockwork since the 15th of July for six straight months and I want to continue it way beyond next year."