By Gabrielle Serra
The federal nutrition programs are widely accepted and valued for providing assistance to millions of vulnerable families including women, children, and seniors that promote health and protect from poverty. With negotiations underway to try to avoid the fiscal cliff, however, congress and the administration have put virtually everything on the table, including cuts to entitlement programs, like SNAP, and other critical discretionary programs, like WIC.
On Wednesday, November 28, Feeding America is hosting a national call-in day to urge Congress to reject cuts to federal nutrition and anti-hunger benefits as part of any deal on the fiscal cliff. For more information about how to participate, click here. Feeding America provides a toll-free number and suggested message points.
Now is the time to stand up for those who rely on the federal nutrition programs to feed their families and make ends meet by calling on congress to pursue a balanced approach that protects the most vulnerable among us from harm.
By marking your calendars for Wednesday, November 28, and by carving out just a few minutes of your time, you can make a big difference.
by Kate Fitzgerald
In November, more than one in seven Americans – 46 million people – bought their food with SNAP dollars through the federal nutrition program formerly known as food stamps.
In this economic recession, discussions that concentrate on the human pain represented by high SNAP caseloads are wholly appropriate. But high SNAP participation also represents billions of dollars of food purchases every year. These dollars could do more than just meet immediate needs. SNAP could be a powerful lever to improve the food system permanently and create jobs and economic opportunity at the same time. The SNAP program can be a powerful tool to push the market to serve our struggling neighbors better, and the 2012 Farm Bill will be a prime opportunity to make that happen.
SNAP sales of $72 billion accounted for 12 percent of the nation’s grocery sales in fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011). Congress appropriated $80 billion for the program this year, fully expecting it to grow. Targeting these food dollars to programs that link farmers with consumers makes sense both for individual health and community economic growth.
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