RESULTS — The Power to end Poverty

Hunger For Justice: Protecting Children and Families from Severe SNAP (Food Stamp) Cuts

‚ÄčHunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

One of America’s enduring qualities is our civic ethic to rally and support one another in times of trou ble. In much of the twentieth century, images we see today of starving children in sub-Saharan Africa could be seen in many parts of the America. Out of this epidemic came the Food Stamp Program. While one can trace food stamp’s roots all the way back to the Great Depression, it did not become the program we see today until the 1970s. Since then, food stamps have all but eliminated extreme hunger in the U.S.

The Food Stamp Program, renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, is still the first line of defense against hunger in the U.S. With 47 million Americans, nearly half of them children (22 million), currently receiving SNAP, it is literally putting food on the table low-income families across America. 

Unfortunately, SNAP has been targeted for major cuts in Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives. On September 19, the House passed H.R.3102, which would cut SNAP by $39 billion over the next ten years. As a result, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 3.8 million people would lose SNAP benefits in 2014 alone. Here are the specific impacts of the House bill:

States adopting this requirement would have an added incentive to kick millions off the program without adequate work supports – they get to keep half of the savings generated from removing people from SNAP. States that do not would see their existing federal SNAP funds for job training cut off. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

‚ÄčEven at a time when many people are fed up with what is coming out of the U.S. Congress, these draconian cuts are a new low. Especially in times of economic hard times, we must provide our children and families with a basic level of nutrition. Moreover, SNAP is one of the most effective programs out there. Here are the facts:



SNAP Helps Families in Times of Need

I was 8 years old when I watched my father walk out on our family. Being that young, I did not understand the impact it would have on our daily lives. Our household went from a family of 6 supported by dual incomes to a family of 5 supported by one and that one salary was not making ends meet. After making a career change and securing a second job, there still was not enough money to put food on the table. Rather than watch her children suffer, my mother swallowed her pride, loaded us kids in the car and stood on line to apply for assistance. She was granted food stamps, “government cheese” and my siblings and I were enrolled in the National School Lunch program, where we received free school lunches. Had it not been for these programs there would have been many days and nights that my siblings and I would have went hungry; instead we were given a chance at a normal childhood by receiving these benefits. Not having to worry about where our next meal was coming from, freed up time for each of us to get an education, some of us excelled at sports, some of excelled at the arts, but each of us made it out of childhood to become young professionals within our community. Furthermore, each of us made it out of childhood with a similar goal, to never forget where we came from and to help those that have the unfortunate luck of being where we once were. Eventually my mother got back on her feet and was able to leave the program with her head held high, knowing her kids were always well fed, thanks to SNAP.

                                                        – Michelle
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The changes proposed by Congress are not about combatting fraud, eliminating waste, or getting people back to work. They are intended to kick people off SNAP, plain and simple. As a country, we cannot afford these cuts. Feeding America estimates that the America’s food banks would have to double the number of meals served to make up for the SNAP cuts in H.R. 3012 and the automatic benefit cut beginning on November 1. Every day, SNAP is a symbol to all Americans that says “we take care of our own.” We are stronger as a people and a nation because of programs like SNAP. To abandon those values now would dramatically increase poverty, hurt our economic recovery, and send a terrible message to millions of lowincome children and families that their country no longer cares.

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