The House passed a bill to cut $40 billion from SNAP (food stamps) yesterday. The measure narrowly passed the House by a vote of 217 to 210.
Locally in Contra Costa and Solano counties:
1 in 4 people are struggling with hunger. (This is the percent of people living at 180% FPL.) The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is serving 50% more people since the start of the recession through their direct service programs and network of partner agencies. That number does not seem to be slowing down. The Food Assistance Program through which the Food Bank distributes federal commodities, the need is still continuing to grow and new people are needing help each month. Regular volunteers who serve each month and often multiple times a month are getting burned out and there is a lack of volunteers willing to commit to help with this program.
Already struggling to keep up with the demand, these farm bill cuts will flood food banks across the country with people needing assistance to feed their families.
From Feeding America:
Did you know that the proposed cuts to SNAP (food stamps) is more than the meals distributed by the entire nationwide network of food banks? Together, the SNAP meals lost in 2014 from the scheduled ARRA cuts and the proposed farm bill cuts (nearly 3.4 billion meals) would exceed the projected annual meal distribution by Feeding America food banks around the country (3.3 billion meals). Following a 46 percent increase in demand during the recession, food banks are already struggling to meet need in their communities and will be unable to make up the difference. Charity can’t make up for lost SNAP meals. Congress must protect SNAP in the farm bill. http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/advocacy-public-policy/policy-center/federal-anti-hunger-programs-and-policies/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/snap-charity.aspx#
From recent SNAPclients:
Rosa and Ron
SNAP is the only source of food for Solano county seniors Rosa and Ron. Their only source of income is Ron’s social security. Most of that goes to pay their $1,120 rent, leaving them very little for other living expenses. Often, they will forgo filling or refilling their prescriptions for diabetes and high blood pressure medication because they simply do not have the funds for it. Without SNAP they simply would not have the funds to put food on the table. They utilize the Food Bank’s Senior Food Program for additional food but that alone is not enough to feed them for the month. Many months are even more trying when their disabled adult son lives with them for short periods of time. Their son has a mental disability and is often homeless unless he lives with them. Feeding two people on $190 month of CalFresh benefits, what is $6.30 per day or $3.15 per person per day is reduced further when their son is living with them. Those benefits must now feed three adults at $2.11 per person each day. Ron is a very proud man, having worked three jobs his entire life and it was difficult to accept the idea that he needed government benefits to feed his family. Rosa and Ron are already living without medical necessities and doing all they can to survive, the SNAP benefit cuts would further negatively impact their already precarious lives.
The House and the Senate will confer and have to come up with some sort of compromise. Call your Representatives. Let them know SNAP cuts do nothing to fix what ails our country and economy.