In light of the recent cuts to food assistance, a Colorado nonprofit, Hunger Free Colorado, spotlights the day-to-day reality of hunger in America.
In January, the farm bill was finally passed. At a time when so many Americans struggle with food insecurity, Congress cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) by about $8 billion over 10 years.
The bill is already proving controversial. Michael Hiltzik writes in the LA Times:
Backers of the new farm bill, approved by the House today and destined for consideration by the Senate next week, are patting themselves on the back for saving billions by eliminating a huge wasteful farm subsidy program.
Don’t believe the hype. The conservative American Enterprise Institute says the measure could cost taxpayers $15 billion more per year than do existing crop programs, much of it going to the wealthiest farmers and the crop insurance industry. The AEI calls the farm bill a “bait and switch” scheme and the product of “beggar thy neighbor cronyism.” And that’s from a pro-business organization.
He adds, “What makes this process especially worth watching is that the farm bill is a curious hybrid — it covers both the food stamp program, which is one of the nation’s most important economic safety-net programs, and farm subsidies, which are an equally important source of corporate welfare.”
Over a dozen women in Colorado are sharing the reality of households that receive food assistance. The PBS NewsHour covered the project (watch the video below).
- SNAP benefits are modest, ranging from $16 to a maximum of $355 prior to cuts
- 23 million: the number of households that need SNAP to ensure that their families are fed.
- Over 75%: percentage of households receiving SNAP benefits include a child, a senior, or a person with disabilities
- 5 million: Americans kept out of poverty thanks to food assistance
- $744: the average monthly income of a household enrolled in SNAP
- 3 million: seniors are enrolled in SNAP
- 50 million: Americans who live under the poverty line
For more, check out Food assistance: facts and myths