At recent Come to the Table conferences, the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP) at farmers markets was a major topic of conversation. As Farm Bill negotiations continue in Congress, SNAP benefits face major cuts. Along with an update, we’d like to give you a special opportunity to be heard.
I am heading to Capitol Hill next week to speak with legislators. I plan to deliver a personal letter to my representative, along with letters from you.
Many of you expressed that in a down economy, SNAP benefits are crucial to keeping families from going hungry. Currently, 47 million Americans receive these benefits, though many report running out before the end of the month.
As it stands right now:
· The Senate version of the Farm bill would cut $4 billion from SNAP, reducing benefit amounts for 400,000+ families.
· The House version of the bill would cut $20.5 billion in SNAP benefits, eliminating benefits for 2 million people, reducing benefits for 850,000 more, and causing 210,000 children to lose eligibility for free school meals.
Although SNAP benefits are not the profound systemic solution to hunger and poverty that many of us are working for, we have heard from you the effects that these cuts will have on continuing cycles of poverty and food insecurity.
If this is an issue that concerns you, please consider writing a letter. The Farm Bill is moving quickly. The decisions made in the next few weeks will determine SNAP benefits, and how much many families have to eat, for the next 5 to 7 years.
Visits and personal letters are the most effective means of communicating with your representative, but letters sent through the mail now take months to get to congressional offices. If you write a letter to your representative and email it to me no later than this Sunday evening, June 9, I will hand deliver it to your representative next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Talk to your clergy and community members this weekend and urge them to do the same. This is the quickest, most personal way we can get your message heard. For the many of you that have already been communicating with your legislators about this issue, I’d love to hear about it!
Come to the Table Director
SNAP Fact Sheet from Bread for the World
June 11th Lobby Day with from Bread for the World, all are welcome!
Petition on Change.org urging Congress to protect SNAP Benefits