PROTECTING THE SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP) IN THE FARM BILL

 

ISSUE #36, SEPTEMBER 10, 2018

Millions of Americans Continue to Struggle Against Poverty; Protecting
and Strengthening SNAP is an Essential Response FRAC, September
12, 2018
Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show a small, not statistically
significant decline in the poverty rate, from 12.7 percent in 2016 to
12.3 percent in 2017. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into
account federal assistance programs, like SNAP, was 13.9 percent in
2017, statistically the same as the 2016 rate of 14 percent. Federal and
state governments need to be doing more to reduce poverty and hunger,
not taking steps to undercut effective programs; one important step that
Congress can take now is to pass a Farm Bill that protects and
strengthens SNAP, said Jim Weill, president of FRAC, in a statement.

Advancing farm bill stirs worries that Alaskans could lose food stamps
benefits. Anchorage Daily News, September 8, 2018
Thousands of Alaskans could lose their SNAP benefits if the House Farm
Bill, which sets limits on SNAP, becomes law. The House program is
really simply punitive, and we know it’s going to kick people off the
program, said Cara Durr, director of public engagement at the Food
Bank of Alaska. It would also add an enormous amount of bureaucracy to
SNAP. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in a July 30 letter to Senate
agriculture committee leaders, wrote ‘House-proposed changes are
completely unworkable in Alaska, where approximately 100,000 Alaskans
need SNAP to help them put food on the table.’

Fight Hunger in Alabama by protecting food assistance and strengthening
school meals Alabama.com, September 7, 2018
SNAP is a policy solution to hunger that works, yet Congress is
considering legislation that would make cuts to the program, write Laura
Lester, executive director of the Alabama Food Bank Association, and
Carol Gundlach, policy analyst for Arise Citizen’s Policy Project, in
this op-ed. We strongly urge the Alabama congressional delegation to
support a final Farm Bill that protects SNAP benefits, especially for
families with children, write the authors.

Granite State Progress highlights importance of food stamps at City
Hall event Nashua Telegraph, September 6, 2018
At a recent event at City Hall in Nashua, New Hampshire, 88 empty food
cans represented the more than 88,000 state residents relying on SNAP.
The event was the first in a series, No Soup for SNAP, intended to
call on government leaders to protect food access. It boggles my mind
that we would even think about trying to cut food systems for the people
who are most vulnerable and most at risk, said Mike Reinke, executive
director of the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter.

SNAP changes would impact Hoosiers’ health Batesville Herald
Tribune, September 9, 2018
Congress is currently considering two versions of the Farm Bill, and the
House bill would make changes to the program that would create more
barriers to SNAP, writes Tony GiaQuinta, MD, FAAP, president of the
Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in this op-ed.
I write today on behalf of the over 900 pediatricians and pediatric
nurse practitioners throughout the state who are concerned that a major
health concern facing the children of Indiana is being overlooked:
hunger. GiaQuinta urges our elected officials to recognize the
crucial importance of SNAP for our communities and commit to passing a
farm bill that reflects those priorities.

That fight in D.C. over food stamps. It has some Colorado small farmers
worried, too. Colorado Independent, September 13, 2018
Changes to SNAP in the House Farm Bill that would make the program
harder to access would “definitely matter” to the farmers who sell at
farmers’ markets in Colorado, and to her farm in particular, said
Krisan Christensen, owner of Farm N’ Wild in Boulder. Ten percent of
my sales at the market this weekend were from SNAP, which is huge
because those people definitely wouldn’t have shopped with me without
it, she said. This year, SNAP purchases have risen to $75,000 at the
Boulder markets, a new record. The Boulder markets also offer “Double
Up” coupons, increasing the purchase power of SNAP shoppers at the
markets.

Support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  Helena
Independent Record, September 12, 2018
Members of the Montana Association of Christians, in this letter to the
editor, express their support for SNAP on behalf of our neighbors
grappling with hunger and economic insecurity. The House version of
the Farm Bill would leave more Montana residents hungry, while the
Senate bill protects and strengthens SNAP. We urge Representative
Gianforte, Senator Daines, and Senator Tester to work with their
colleagues to pass a final farm bill that protects SNAP, the authors
conclude.

Congress must protect food stamps in Farm Bill  Pennlive.com,
September 9, 2018
In this letter to the editor, Devera Lang of Carlisle, Pennsylvania,
urges Congress to ‘prioritize the health and nutrition of our
families’ and protect SNAP by passing the Senate version of the Farm
Bill. The last thing American families and our economy need are
policies that are balanced on the backs of our nation’s families or
so-called “welfare reform” packages that will keep up from putting
food on the table for our children. Lang notes the Congressional
Budget Office found that SNAP is one of the most effective programs for
stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.

SNAP PARTICIPATION

Oklahoma working to close gap between SNAP and those in need
Woodward News, September 9, 2018
About 20 percent of Oklahoma residents who are eligible for SNAP 
roughly 206,000 people  are not receiving benefits. To help more
people access benefits, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
(OKDHS) implemented First Contact Resolution, a pilot program that
helps people complete SNAP applications on the day they begin the
process. If someone walks in to the office, they see a worker right
then and there so we don’t have to try to contact them later to
arrange an interview, said Sara Gorman, Garfield County director for
OKDHS. Another program, SNAP in Schools, allows families to apply
for SNAP while enrolling their children in school.

Washington turns focus to child nutrition. The Hill, September
12, 2018
A recent forum gathered by The Hill at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum
discussed new government dietary guidelines. The new guidelines would be
an improvement, said Geraldine Henchy, director of nutrition policy and
early childhood nutrition programs at FRAC. Henchy also noted that it
was important to remember that SNAP and other federal programs are
already in place. If we look at those, we really see a lot of work
going on trying to maximize those programs’ access to them, said
Henchy.  So that everyone who really needs them can get them.

FROM FRAC CHAT

Congrats to USDA’s Andrea Gold for Well-Deserved Food Marketing
Institute Recognition – FRAC Chat, September 10, 2018
One of the people behind the scenes who helps to ensure SNAP
transactions are a reliable, mainstream, and dignified way for eligible
people to obtain their food was center stage this summer. The Food
Marketing Institute (FMI), which represents large retail food stores,
honored Andrea Gold, who manages USDA’s SNAP retailer operations, with
its Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award. Ms. Peterson had served as
special assistant for consumer affairs under U.S. Presidents Johnson and
Carter and as vice president for consumer affairs at Giant Food, Inc.

ABOUT US

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate
poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit
our website to learn more.

CONTACT US

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200
mambrose@frac.org