By Emma Kornetsky, Government Affairs Manager
Eighty percent of the Farm Bill’s funding goes toward nutrition, with the biggest program being the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, serving 1 in 7 Pennsylvanians and 1 in 10 residents of NJ.
SNAP provides twelve times more meals than all of the Feeding America food banks in the country combined. It is an efficient and effective program that dramatically reduces hunger. It helps working families, seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Not only does it reduce hunger, it improves education, health, and financial outcomes for recipients!
We can all agree that people shouldn’t go hungry, but how do we get there? Food banks like Philabundance are an important part of that plan, but we can’t solve hunger alone. The Farm Bill is designed to protect and support the people who make our food, and it also ensures that food gets in the hands of people who need it. SNAP doesn’t only help its recipients, it benefits ALL OF US through the boost to the economy it provides. The money given in SNAP benefits is injected straight back into local economies, supporting jobs at grocery stores and farms, and all along the food chain. Just in Philadelphia alone, SNAP generated $1.4 billion in economic activity in 2016.
Just a 10 percent cut to SNAP would force Philabundance to more than double our provision of food to make up the gap, and that is an impossible task. The emergency food system is already stretched thin.
And yet, there are lawmakers who want to cut SNAP, and will try to do so through the Farm Bill. When people lose their SNAP benefits, they will turn to emergency food banks like Philabundance and our partner agencies, which makes us seriously concerned. Just a 10 percent cut to SNAP would force Philabundance to more than double our provision of food to make up the gap, and that is an impossible task. The emergency food system is already stretched thin.
Cuts to SNAP would mean turning people away or giving them less food. It would mean a dramatic increase in hunger. As it stands, SNAP benefits are not enough. Far too many people still go hungry. SNAP should be strengthened and expanded, not cut.
The Farm Bill, this vital piece of legislation which funds SNAP, is up for renewal this year. Please take 30 seconds to sign up for AdvocacyNow to stay informed about what you can do to protect SNAP and make sure we pass a strong Farm Bill for all of us!