On Monday, May 14 the Poor People's Campaign will launch 40 days of action and advocacy in state capitols and in Washington, DC calling for voting rights protections, programs to address poverty, attention to ecological devastation and measures to curb militarism and the war economy.
Each week will have an issue focus and this first week's theme is, "Somebody’s Hurting Our People: Child Poverty, Women, LGBTQ Community and People with Disabilities." These are the very communities that will be directly harmed by changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.
Need some examples?
- More than $8 in $10 in nutrition assistance go to households that include a child, a senior, or person with a disability. Yet these are some of the people hit hardest by the House Farm Bill.
- We know that food insecurity can have devastating effects on children's development and SNAP benefits children especially - it helps 25% of our kids have access to nutritional meals every day.
- SNAP is particularly important to women, who are 63% of adult recipients. In addtion 58% of all SNAP households with children were headed by a single adult, and 92% of those households are headed by women.
- Queer women particularly benefit from SNAP: 34% of bisexual women and 32% of lesbians (compared to 24% of straight women) between 18 and 44 report participating in SNAP and about 15% of transgender national survey respondents participate in the program.
- Finally, expanding SNAP work requirements will have a serious impact on people with disabilities and long-term illnesses who use SNAP when they cannot work.
Now is the time to act. Tell Congress: Hands off SNAP!
Right now Congress is debating the Farm Bill. This massive piece of legislation authorizes most federal policies, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – our nation’s most critical anti-hunger program. The version of the Farm Bill being considered in the House of Representatives right now proposes damaging changes to SNAP.
If the proposed House version gets signed into law more children and families will go hungry. We know that when someone faces unemployment or barriers to employment, hunger only serves to make the problem worse. SNAP benefits as they are now play an important role in helping people find and keep jobs. SNAP is an anti-hunger program, and making changes to it that result in more, not less hungry people is the exact opposite to what it should be doing.
More than 40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis. While charitable organizations play a vital role in addressing hunger, the overwhelming majority of food assistance in this country has historically come from—and must continue to come from—federal programs. Our sacred texts compel us to honor the dignity of every person, especially those who are struggling. No matter a person’s circumstance, no one deserves to go hungry.