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Millions will go hungry because of SNAP cuts

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 11:13 a.m. CDT

To the editor:

The holidays are coming up and with it cold weather. Families will be coming together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, celebrating another year passing. But many families this year will go hungry.

This month, $5 billion are being cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps. Individuals and families who depend on the program will be seeing substantial cuts in the money they receive through the program — and thus, the food they need.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “this cut will be the equivalent of taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four, or 16 meals for a family of three.”

Imagine being a parent and having to survive with 16 fewer meals a month while still having to feed not only your child, but your partner and yourself. Before these cuts took place, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council had already determined that SNAP was inadequate.

Now, SNAP recipients must rely on an even more inadequate program for their survival.

So who benefits from SNAP? There are record numbers of Americans relying on federal aid and most SNAP recipients are children, the elderly, the disabled, and the working poor.

What’s more is that many others who are eligible for SNAP benefits have not applied – these people will still be going hungry, only without the added help of SNAP.

Perhaps they have not applied for SNAP benefits because of the unfortunate misconceptions surrounding the program, including the “Welfare Queen” myth; but that is a discussion for another time.

What is pressing now is that millions of Americans are going to go hungry this year because of SNAP cuts. Children, elderly men and women, the disabled (including veterans), non-disabled veterans and their families, the working poor, and others not included in these categories.

What you can do to alleviate their struggles is simple: give to a food bank or volunteer your time to one of the various programs that feeds struggling Americans.

Food banks across the country are going to be hit hard this year, you can help by adding to their food stores or giving your time.

It is important to remember these struggling Americans at every time of the year, but especially now when cuts are being felt most. Do one, do both, but please, do something.

Jazmine Bjelland

Newton

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