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The nation's largest network of food banks won't be able to make up the proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as some in Congress have suggested.
"Feeding America is appreciative, however, of the additional $250 million to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) over the next ten years, included in the legislation," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. "Our food banks have experienced a steep drop off in the flow of USDA commodities in recent years and this boost will help them better meet demand. Unfortunately, even with increased TEFAP, our food banks simply will not have the capacity to make up for lost SNAP benefits included elsewhere in the bill."
Calling the House Agriculture Committee’s cuts of over $16 billion "drastic," Escarra noted that the new Farm Bill will make it harder for millions of struggling Americans to put food on the table.
“Cutting food assistance at a time when so many Americans need help is a callous departure from Washington’s historic bi-partisan commitment to protecting and strengthening programs that feed hungry families," she said.
Under the proposed cuts, she predicts that an additional 500,000 households would have their SNAP benefits cut by $90 per month and nearly 300,000 children would lose free school meals. The greatest impact will be borne by senior citizens, the disabled, and families with small children.
"Cuts to SNAP will drive more struggling families to local food charities at a time when food banks are already stretched thin," she said. "Make no mistake, our food banks will not be able to fill the gap caused by these cuts."
To learn more about how you can support Feeding America's efforts to fill the gap between government assistance and going hungry, click here.