"Today, more than ever in our country's recent history, the current economic downturn is affecting a cross-section of American families beyond those traditionally categorized as relying on food-stamps assistance. Feeding America has long recognized that hunger abides by no fixed rules and can touch any family at any time, for a variety of reasons.
"Connecting families seeking emergency food assistance with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits is a top priority for Feeding America and we applaud any study that brings attention to the issue of hunger in America. The Washington University report underscores that SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger in America, and we share the researchers concerns that millions more individuals and families are eligible for the program than one year ago because of the continued weakening economy.
"The report also reinforces the startling statistic that while only 66 percent of people who are eligible for the program are currently participating, the number of people receiving benefits is at an all time high of more than 35 million people, up 22 percent over a year prior.
"Feeding America commends Congress and the Administration for its diligent efforts in helping low-income Americans put food on the table by providing the largest increase in the history of the SNAP program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. However, the sheer number of people receiving benefits today is tragic and there is much work to be done. We must continue to ensure that low-income families have access to this critical safety net so that they do not go hungry.
"Feeding America will continue to work closely with our partners at USDA to ensure that the public and charitable sectors are keeping pace – as best we can – with the dramatically increasing needs for food assistance."
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