Statement attributable to Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America:
"Today the Senate passed the new farm bill, which cleared the House last week. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.
"Feeding America strongly opposes the $8.6 billion cut to SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) included in the legislation. The bill will result in about 850,000 low-income households losing an average of $90 in monthly benefits. This reduction in benefits follows an approximately $11 billion cut to SNAP benefits that took place on November 1 of last year.
"These cuts will be concentrated in 15 states and the District of Columbia and will equate to about 34 lost meals per month for each affected household – a total of 3.2 billion lost meals over 10 years, according to estimates by Feeding America.
"The farm bill cuts to SNAP will no doubt result in increased demand at food banks and pantries in the impacted states, particularly coming on top of the November cuts that affected all SNAP participants.
"We believe that Congress should be strengthening and protecting SNAP and other anti-hunger programs, not cutting benefits, especially now, when need is so high.
"Feeding America deeply appreciates that the bill includes an additional $205 million investment in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides nutritious food to food banks and other emergency food providers, as well as a new dairy donation program that will benefit low-income families when dairy prices fall below a certain threshold. While the additional TEFAP funds will not replace the meals lost from the SNAP cuts, they are a critical investment that will help our nation's food banks better meet increased demand in their communities.
"It is worth noting that SNAP works as it was intended: it helps millions of low-income Americans provide meals to their families when during times when dollars are few. It helps lift many households out of poverty. Seventy-six percent of SNAP households include a senior, child, or someone who is disabled – people who are too elderly to work, too young to work, or not capable of working."
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Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.