Feeding America Warns Cuts To The SNAP Program Will Overwhelm Food Pantries And Hunger Relief Charities

Aug 14, 2012, 12:56 ET from Feeding America

CHICAGO, Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Current version of the House Agriculture Committee's Farm Bill cuts $16.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as "Food Stamps"), which provides nutrition assistance to millions of low-income individuals. 

The proposed cuts would remove two to three million individuals from the SNAP program; an additional 500,000 households would have their SNAP benefits cut by an average $90 per month; and nearly 300,000 children would lose their free school meals.

"What will households do to make up for this loss in food assistance? The vast majority of SNAP recipients have extremely low incomes – 20 percent of these households have no income at all. If these cuts to SNAP are passed, the food banks in Feeding America's network will be even more overwhelmed with people seeking food assistance. The food pantries, soup kitchens, and other organizations that are served by Feeding America are already stretched to the limit," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "Proposed cuts would mean that some low-income Americans may literally go without food."

The SNAP program is the first line of defense for low income Americans living at risk of hunger.

  • Feeding America experienced a 46 percent increase in clients served from 2006 to 2010. This network of over 200 food banks nationwide would not be able to accommodate the additional increase in demand that proposed SNAP cuts would cause.
  • Aggregating all the federal and private resources for food assistance in the United States, only about 4 percent is funded privately. Charity is doing its part, but we cannot do it alone.
  • Many households enrolled in SNAP are already relying on private charities because their SNAP assistance does not last through the month. The average SNAP benefit is less than $1.50 per meal, less for households with children, and in fact, most SNAP dollars are spent within the first three weeks of the month.
  • Food banks have seen a nearly 30 percent decline in federal commodity donations from 2010 to 2011 due to strong agriculture markets. Charities in the Feeding America network have already been struggling to meet increased need with declining supply.

"I know that in the heart of every American there is a desire to see their neighbor succeed," Escarra said. "That's what charities do; they help their neighbors when they need it. Nutrition programs, like SNAP, are the federal share of that responsibility, and we strongly oppose efforts to cut SNAP."

About Feeding America

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

Ross Fraser

SOURCE Feeding America