PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jack Reed is urging fellow members of Congress to strengthen the federal nutrition safety net for food banks.

Reed and 25 of his Senate colleagues have sent a letter to key negotiators working on a stalled farm bill asking them to support a level of funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program that he says will help keep pace with the demand for emergency food relief.

Reed said Congress needs to do more to give a hand to what he described as the thousands of hungry Rhode Islanders who need help meeting basic nutritional needs and alleviating hunger.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides food through organizations like food banks, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters in part by letting the U.S. Department of Agriculture buy surplus foods from American farmers.

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