Second Harvest Community Food Bank Blog
Weekly Policy Update
The Second Harvest Weekly Hunger Policy Update highlights what's new on hunger, nutrition and poverty issues. Second Harvest will use this policy update to alert you to trends, reports, news items and resources and, when available, link you directly to them.
Members of Congress Taking SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge
(CNN, October 29, 2011)
California Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and other Members of Congress in a shopping trip to prepare for their participation in the national SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge organized by national religious groups, part of Fighting Poverty with Faith. Years ago, Lee lived on SNAP/Food Stamps when she was a single mother. Her participation in the Challenge helps highlight the importance of continued government funding for the program as Congress attempts to deal with the budget deficit. Advocates are calling for a 20 percent increase in program benefits. “It’s not a good enough program for people’s health and productivity and childrens’ learning in school because the benefits are just too small,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. “It’s impossible to buy nutritious food” on a SNAP/Food Stamp budget, said Delegate Norton as she shopped for her week along with a constituent. “I wish everyone could walk in the shoes that I have walked in before and that so many people are walking in today,” said Lee, as she completed her Challenge grocery shopping.
White House Blogs About National SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge
(White House blog, October 28, 2011)
Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama, spoke at the Fighting Poverty with Faith SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge kickoff. “President Obama knows that many Americans were struggling to afford food before the economic crisis of 2008, and that the recession only made things worse” writes Jarrett in this blog post. “He believes that our government must follow what he has called ‘a common creed.’ I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.” The President “enhanced and expanded” SNAP/Food Stamps when he took office, and in 2010 these investments raised 3.9 million Americans (including 1.7 million children) above the poverty line, even as unemployment increased. “Even now, Congress has proposed making drastic cuts to the SNAP program,” writes Jarrett, “and to other programs which benefit our economy while helping Americans make ends meet. But we believe that if we work together with citizens and leaders of every faith, we can do the right thing, fight poverty, and make sure our economy reflects our highest American ideals.”
Marketplace Morning Report, Food stamp budget could face cuts
November 3, 2011
The federal budget for food stamps doubled during the recession, but major cuts to the program are now on the table.
JEREMY HOBSON: There's some new analysis this morning on the number of Americans living in poverty. And listen to this figure: 1 in 15 are living 50 percent below the poverty line. A lifeline for them is the $70 billion-a-year food stamp program.
But as Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer reports, it could be in line for big cuts.
NANCY MARSHALL-GENZER: The annual budget for food stamps doubled during the recession. Republicans say some of that growth is due to fraud. So they want to hold the food stamp budget at about $71 billion next year. Democrats want to spend about $80 billion. Charities say they wouldn't be able to keep up with demand if food stamp funding was cut.
Paula Thornton-Greear is a spokeswoman for Feeding America, which supplies food banks.
PAULA THORNTON-GREEAR: We're serving 37 million people each year, and that is a 46 percent increase from 2006.
Some economists say there would also be an impact on the broader economy if less was spent on food stamps.
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