Right now Congress is debating a variety of nutrition and agriculture policies as it works to renew the federal Farm Bill, which is set to expire in October. Due to intense pressures to cut government spending, the proposals in both the House and Senate include steep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps).
The Farm Bill authorizes a variety of programs that help families put food on the table, but SNAP reaches the most families struggling to get back on their feet. Almost 800,000 people in Southeastern Michigan depend on SNAP to eat, and about half of them are children.
The program doesn't just put food on the table; it lifts families out of poverty and helps ensure kids show up at school ready to learn.
Speak out now! Tell Congress that families in our community depend on SNAP to avoid hunger, improve nutrition and health and regain financial stability.
Food insecurity poses a threat to 1 in 4 families with children in Southeastern Michigan. And that threat has grown dramatically, as the great recession coupled with state and federal budget cuts compromise the ability of informal networks, food pantries, and community-based organizations to provide enough food to meet the growing need.
Proposals in Congress to steeply cut SNAP funding or make harmful structural changes would leave many families with nowhere to turn. Cutting SNAP will not just cause more hunger and food insecurity in our community; it will deteriorate families' health and reduce children's physical and mental readiness to succeed in school.
SNAP benefits do more than just put food on the table. Each dollar of SNAP increases the nutritional quality of recipient's diets, and, in coordination with public and private nutrition programs, reduces obesity. In addition, the benefits multiply in value as they circulate through local economies. Five federal SNAP dollars creates almost $10 in economic activity.
I hope that you will continue to work with your colleagues in Congress to prioritize the needs of struggling children and families. Please pass a bill that maintains strong support for SNAP and other nutrition programs.