"While we recognize the challenge of drafting a Farm Bill in a climate of deficit reduction, Feeding America is deeply disappointed that the Senate Agriculture Committee proposes to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) when the need for food assistance remains at unprecedented levels. We strongly oppose proposed cuts to nutrition programs and instead urge Congress to draft a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens programs like SNAP and TEFAP.
"With unemployment stuck at over 8% nationally, millions of families scraping by with reduced wages or hours, and the charitable system stretched to the breaking point, cuts to SNAP would add further hardship for struggling families and communities across the country.
"Nearly 49 million Americans have trouble putting food on the table, with many families relying on SNAP to get by. While they provide a lifeline to struggling families, SNAP benefits are not overly generous and for many families they run out before the month does. Our national network of over 200 food banks is already stretched thin trying to meet the record demand for food assistance at a time when the supply of TEFAP commodity foods has declined markedly.
"Feeding America appreciates that the Senate Agriculture Committee recognized the urgent need for additional TEFAP by providing an additional $100 million over the next ten years. However, the reality is that we saw a $173 million loss of TEFAP last year alone. Charity, already stretched to the limit serving huge increases in need during the recession, will not have the capacity to make up for billions of dollars in lost SNAP benefits. Our food banks need more TEFAP, not increased demand.
"Farm Bill nutrition programs are working effectively to protect against hunger and promote nutrition among our nation's most vulnerable – children, seniors, and low-income families. Washington has a long standing history of a bipartisan commitment to protecting the safety net and low-income people in past deficit reduction efforts. We urge Congress to continue that commitment and protect and strengthen funding for food assistance programs throughout the farm bill process."
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