Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Monday, September 23, 2013

US House proposes to cut 3.8 million people from food stamps

US HOUSE Proposes cutting 3.8 million people from food stamps.  Having previously failed to pass a farm bill, the US House has now proposed a bill that would cut 3.8 million people, mostly children, the disabled and the elderly, from food stamps.  Aside from being cruel and thoughtless, the proposed cuts will also damage the economy and hurt farmers and grocers.

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Deyvon Sheldon 6, Sherri Sheldon 4,  and their little cousin 2, (below)  just  three of the over 200,000 beautiful, bright children who will go hungry and malnourished if Congress passes the House's current proposed  $40 billion cuts to food stamps that will result in 3.8 million people being cut from food stamps.

 Deyvon is always asking to go to the park and read a book. He and his sister Sherri are two of the sweetest little children I have ever met. I have had the privilege and joy to work with them as part of our food sovereignty and justice organizing in Kansas City.

Congress is currently working on the US Farm Bill to cut 3.8 Million People off of SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps as it is commonly known.   Children are the greatest recipients of food stamps, followed by their moms, the working poor or people with lowing paying jobs such as for Walmart, disabled persons, and senior citizens. More people in the rural rather than the urban areas benefit from food stamps. 

While White folks are the largest racial group to benefit from food stamps, Indigenous, Black and Latino folks are disproportionately affected by hunger and poverty.  38% of Black American children are hungry, up 3% points from 2 years ago.   Research documents that Blacks and Latinos continue to be discriminated against in our food, agriculture and economic systems causing unjust disparities in hunger and food and lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer.  More people in the rural rather than the urban areas benefit from food stamps. 

Food Stamp use has increased to its greatest use due to this current recession, the worse since the Great Depression. While unemployment has reduced in the last two years, the new jobs that have replaced the old jobs pay less and have fewer or no benefits compared to the jobs they are replacing.  The jobs that disappeared ranged from $13 to $22 per hour; the new jobs that replace them range from $7 to $13 with no benefits like restaurant worker jobs.

"Aside from being cruel and thoughtless, the food stamp cuts are also damaging to the economy." The Center for American Progress, in a study released in March, found that for every $1 billion cut from SNAP, 13,718 jobs are lost.

So the House bill, by that calculation, will cost 56,243 jobs. CAP noted the losses “will likely have the greatest impact on younger and food and farm workers, since they account for a disproportionate share of workers in food-related industries.”

Furthermore, Congress has proposed cutting Food Assistance for people for their entire lives with certain convictions, despite their having served their sentences. This would result in lower food stamp benefits for children and other family members of people convicted of such offenses. Moreover, this amendment would have a harsh impact on Black and Latino communities who are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system. Research documents that Blacks and Latinos continue to be discriminated against in the criminal justice system causing unjust disparities in prosecutions, convictions and incarcerations.  These proposed cuts will devastate our children, families, and communities.  Food, Research Action Council and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Join us to let our Congress people know we want them to increase, not cut food stamps for the health and wealth of our children, our farmers and all citizens as SNAP is a boost to our work for a full economic recovery from the Greatest Recession since the Great Depression. Hunger is the number 1 health risk in our communities, country and world. Bread for the World.

Thank you in advance for any consideration you give my request.

Maria Whittaker, President
Local to Global Advocates for Justice
Food, Health and Environmental Justice Coalition
3156 Wood View Ridge Drive
Suite 206
Kansas City, KS 66103
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