Minnesota alone sees more than 600,000 moms, dads and children miss at least 10 meals a month – all because they cannot afford to buy their own food. 40% of all visits to Minnesota’s food shelves (aka food banks) were made by children, numbering about 1.3 million visits in all.
And these aren’t your typical low-income families – they used to be hard working, middle-class Americans until they recently lost their jobs.1
One well-oiled vehicle for feeding our country’s hungry is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, aka SNAP aka the food stamp program. SNAP has been around as early as 1939 back when it was called the First Food Stamp Program. FSP was created in response to widespread unemployment and surplus food that could not be sold, which is something pretty familiar in today’s economically-troubled times.
Fast-forward to today. A whopping $65 billion worth of food stamps were distributed across the nation in 2010, with 46,224,722 Americans receiving food aid last year alone. But funding for SNAP is always at risk every five years when Congress has renew the Farm Bill, which covers SNAP/food stamps among others.
And in its quest to cut down expenses, Congress is eyeing drastic cuts and structural changes to SNAP.
SNAP isn’t just a charity case. It is a lifeline for every American in case of sudden unemployment or undue economic hardship. It is there as a safety net to keep all of us fed while we hunt for better jobs and make our way back in society.
We need this safety net now more than ever, and we cannot afford to sit idly by while Congress yanks that safety net from under our reach. Reduced funding, restricted eligibility, reduced benefits – any or all of these are possible if we do not act.
So write a letter to your state representative. Tell them why you need their support in keeping SNAP up and running. Your voice may be small, but it will still be heard – especially when you have a million other small voices washing over Congress.