The United States Department of Agriculture reported today that 14.5 percent of American households remain food insecure – meaning 1 in 6 households in the United States had difficulty at some time during the year in providing enough food for all their members. The report comes as the House of Representatives is expected to consider a bill this month with a $40 billion cut to federal food assistance.
“When it comes to food insecurity rates, any number is too high,” said Bob Aiken, Feeding America CEO. “It’s because of numbers like these that we need to maintain a strong federal and charitable safety net to get enough food to those in need. This means strengthening and protecting federal programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) and TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program).”
The proposed $40 billion SNAP cut in the House bill would result in millions of Americans seeing their food assistance reduced or lost entirely, resulting in over 15 billion lost meals for struggling families over the next ten years according to Feeding America estimates. If divided evenly across Feeding America’s national network of food banks, every food bank would have to provide an additional 7.5 million meals each year for the next ten years. These cuts would come on top of benefit reductions for all SNAP recipients that will take effect on November 1st and will average about $36 per month for a family of four. .
“With so many of our neighbors, friends and family worrying about where the next meal is coming from, now is not the time to cut federal nutrition programs,” said Aiken. “These programs are critical to meeting the current need. Our nation’s food banks are already stretched thin in the wake of the recession, and charity cannot make up for the billions of lost meals resulting from such cuts. We urge Congress to maintain Washington’s long-standing, bipartisan commitment to protecting programs that help struggling families put food in their pantries.”
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