Feeding America today issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address:
Statement attributable to Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America:
“In his State of the Union address tonight, President Barack Obama spoke of the economic difficulties faced by millions of Americans living in poverty and the imperative of ensuring everyone has a fair shot at opportunity. We commend him for recognizing that while our nation has made significant progress recovering from the devastation of the Great Recession, millions of families continue to face hard times. We hope that President Obama and Congress will continue to build upon the progress they made in 2015, reaching budget and spending agreements and making permanent tax provisions that help low-income working families and our nation’s charities.
The stakes remain critically high with 1 in 7 people in America facing hunger and more than 5 million people seeking assistance every week from a food pantry or meal program served by a member of the Feeding America network.
“The staff and volunteers of the 60,000 food pantries and meal programs served by Feeding America see first-hand the struggles of families across our nation making impossible choices between basic necessities – whether to buy food, pay the rent, or keep the heat turned on.
“While our economy continues to improve, recovery remains elusive for far too many people. One in seven Americans lives in poverty. Opportunity, full-time unemployment and an adequate household income remain elusive for millions of people across our nation.
“One of the most effective and efficient ways to help low-income families and individuals who are facing economic hard times is through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP formerly known as Food Stamps) The White House hunger report Long-Term Benefits of The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was released last December, reinforces the critical role that SNAP plays not just improving food insecurity but also providing long-term health, education and economic benefits.
“The report also concludes something that we in the hunger-relief arena have known for years: SNAP benefits are often too low to sustain a household for an entire month. We see a significant spike in the numbers of people showing up for help at the food pantries and meal programs we serve during the third week of any given month, when they have exhausted their SNAP benefits.
“SNAP and other Federal nutrition programs are working exactly as they were designed, growing in response to increased need to provide food to people who might otherwise go hungry. About 76 percent of households enrolled in SNAP include a child, a senior, or someone who is disabled, and 91 percent of benefits go to households with income at or below the poverty line.
“Ending Hunger in our nation will require a commitment from business, government, and the nonprofit community.
“Feeding America calls on the President and the Congress to work together to pass the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, and ensure that all children have access to the nourishing food they need to learn, grow, and thrive in America.”
Please contact one of our media representatives or call 800-771-2303
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and 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. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.