I used up all of my energy to get ready to see a friend so we could get ice cream today and she flaked on me. I’m so bored of being at homeeee.
Support a Full and Fair Farm Bill
Stimulus funds that were allocated toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the recession ran out on November 1st. The cuts are projected to save the U.S. government $5 billion next year, but they are also reducing food budgets for over 47 million people who use the program, over two-thirds of whom are children, the elderly, or the disabled. As if that isn’t a big enough challenge, there is a high potential that cuts will increase once the new farm bill passes. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is pushing for cuts of up to $40 billion, while the Democrat-controlled Senate is aiming for a $4 billion cut. The bill is currently stalled until final details are agreed upon.
Cuts to the SNAP program not only make it harder for people in need to put food on the table, they also impact the economy. According to the Fair Food Network, “Every $1 of SNAP benefits creates $1.84 in economic activity.” Stores in low-income neighborhoods feel the worst of the pain, as the New York Times illustrated in an article earlier this month:
The cuts are also hurting stores in poor neighborhoods. The average food stamps household receives $272 a month, which then passes into the local economy.
At a Food Lion in Charleston where as many as 75 percent of the shoppers use food stamps, managers were bracing for lower receipts as the month wore on.
At a Met Foodmarket in the Bronx, where 80 percent of the 7,000 weekly customers use food stamps, overall food sales have already dropped by as much as 10 percent.
For more examples of how the cuts hurt individuals and communities, PBS aired the video below earlier this week showing some of the impacts:
If you’re like me, you are probably asking what you can do to help. Besides getting in touch with your elected officials or volunteering with local food justice organizations, one of the best ways to get involved seems to be to read and sign on as a supporter of the Statement for a Full and Fair Farm Bill, created by the Community Food & Justice Coalition and their “Getting Our Act Together (GOAT) on the Farm Bill” collaboration project. There is a lot of work to be done though, so I urge everyone to get involved and spread the word.
Photo above from The New York Times.
- Cut in Food Stamps Forces Hard Choices on Poor (NY Times)
- Tweet from @FairFoodNetwork, November 26, 2013
- Statement for a Full and Fair Farm Bill (Community Food & Justice Coalition)
Farm Bill infographic (Community Food & Justice Coalition)
Cut in food stamps will hit retailers (L.A. Times)
America’s New Hunger Crisis (MSNBC)