WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the House Ways and Means Committee will meet to hear testimony on tax reform and charitable contributions, specifically the itemized deduction for charitable contributions. Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, commends the Committee for beginning the process of examining the positive impact the charitable tax deduction has on the nonprofit community and urges the Committee to protect giving incentives for nonprofits. During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the number of American families struggling to make ends meet increased significantly. In fact, Feeding America's Hunger in America 2010 report shows a 46 percent increase in demand between 2006 and 2010. Though our economy has begun to recover, Feeding America food banks are still experiencing record demand. The charitable donation deduction is unique among federal tax deductions in that it encourages giving that strengthens communities rather than directly benefiting the donor. Limiting charitable giving incentives would have a detrimental impact on charities across the nation and would hamper the ability of Feeding America and our network food banks to meet the need for food assistance in communities across the nation. In 2012, individual donors gave $450 million to food banks across the Feeding America network, which represents 53 percent of all funds given to our food banks. Federal tax policy also plays an important role in encouraging donations of nutritious food to food banks through the enhanced food donation tax deduction. With 78 billion pounds of nutritious food wasted each year, we need to continue to explore ways to improve tax incentives to encourage food donations. It should not cost a company more to donate the food than it does to landfill the food. At a time when one in eight Americans is turning to Feeding America's food banks to help put food on the table for their families, this tax incentive is critical to Feeding America's ability to meet the needs of our clients. Feeding America provides food to 37 million Americans every year through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding facilities.