February 13, 2012

Feeding America today issued the following statement upon release of President Barack Obama's 2013 Budget proposal:

"Feeding America applauds the President's new budget proposal for providing strong funding for federal nutrition programs, which help millions of struggling Americans put food on the table. Although the budget includes cuts to some important low-income programs, it demonstrates that deficit reduction can be accomplished, while ensuring an adequate federal safety-net for our most vulnerable citizens," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

"Food is our most basic human need. Investing in programs that help feed children, seniors and families at risk of hunger and poor nutrition is not just the right thing to do, it makes fiscal sense because hunger increases health care costs, lowers worker productivity, harms children's development and diminishes their educational performance," Escarra said."We also commend the President for recognizing the importance of the charitable tax deduction and the positive impact this provision has on the ability of nonprofits to support communities across America."

The proposed budget affects federal nutrition programs as follows:

  • Restores SNAP benefits used to help pay for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (thereby delaying cuts from November 1, 2013 to April 1, 2014) and continues to suspend the time limit that restricts certain working-age, unemployed adults without dependents to only 3 months of benefits in any 3 year period in light of ongoing high levels of unemployment.
  • Fully funds the purchase of nutritious commodities for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, TEFAP, a critical source of food for our nation's food banks and ensures funding for storage and distribution of TEFAP commodities.
  • Provides sufficient funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program providing monthly packages of food primarily to low-income seniors, at a level expected to maintain the current caseload of approximately 599,000 individuals.
  • Provides funding to support the 9.1 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants and young children.
  • Supports continued implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which improves child nutrition programs and increases children's access to healthy meals and snacks.

Feeding America food banks experienced a 46 percent increase in the number of people seeking for emergency food assistance between 2006 and 2010, according to their Hunger in America studies. This increase – from 25 million to 37 million people served --was largely due to rising need as a result of the recession and widespread unemployment.


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