Feeding America Responds To Passage Of A Farm Bill By The Senate Agriculture Committee

May 14, 2013, 16:22 ET from Feeding America

CHICAGO, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement Attributable to Bob Aiken President and CEO of Feeding America:

"Feeding America strongly opposes the $4.1 billion cut to SNAP included in the Senate Farm Bill, which would cause an estimated 500,000 low-income households to lose an average $90 in monthly benefits.

"The effect of this cut would be concentrated in 15 states and the District of Columbia and would equate to about 36 lost meals per month for impacted households, and a total of 1.6 billion lost meals over 10 years, according to estimates by Feeding America.  

"Although the national unemployment continues to slowly improve, economic recovery remains elusive for millions of low-income families. Food banks and other charities are stretched thin in their efforts to meet sustained high demand in the wake of the Great Recession.

"Federal nutrition assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are more important than ever, ensuring that those who have fallen on hard times can still put food on the kitchen table.  

"Given the state of the economy and the fact that so many people are struggling to find work or are working for fewer hours or lower wages, now is the time to protect and strengthen Federal hunger-relief programs, and not to cut these essential benefits upon which so many vulnerable families rely.

"Feeding America does wish to note that we are pleased that the Agriculture Committee rejected amendments to make deeper cuts and harmful structural changes to SNAP.

"Feeding America appreciates that Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (MS) included an additional $54 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides nutritious food to food banks and other emergency food providers.  We recognize the challenges they face crafting this legislation in a climate of deficit reduction.

"We must strongly emphasize that cuts to SNAP will surely increase demand at food banks and pantries at a time when emergency food providers are serving record numbers of people, food and fuel prices have increased significantly and there has been a steep drop off in the flow of TEFAP commodities. We also appreciate the amendment offered by Senators Sherrod Brown (OH), William Cowan (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Patrick Leahy (VT) and Tom Harkin (IA) to increase funding for TEFAP and SNAP, and we urge the Senate to protect and strengthen SNAP and TEFAP as the farm bill process moves forward."

About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.  Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

Contact: Ross Fraser, 1-312-263-2303 x6422, rfraser@feedingamerica.org

SOURCE Feeding America