Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SNAP Judgment Could Hurt Idaho's Neediest

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Proposals to cut funding for a national food program may leave Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens with growling stomachs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is on the Congressional chopping block, aiming to cut costs by changing the grant structure to one with so-called "preset" funding limits.

In April, the U.S. House voted to cut SNAP’s funding by $127 billion, nearly 20 percent. SNAP aims to put healthy food on the table for over 40 million people each month. Those tables in need are usually kids tables. According to the Food Research and Action Center, nearly 80 percent of those using SNAP in Idaho are homes with children.

The largest section of recipients of these funds is families living with dangerously low incomes. as well as the elderly and those living with disabilities. Ellen Vollinger of the Food Research and Action Center told Citydesk that cuts to SNAP’s funding would “seriously undermine the program for all people.”

Vollinger also points to the retailers who have partnered with SNAP to provide food. These retailers, she said, are beneficial in helping when need is increased. Natural disasters and economic downturns leave many without food on their plates. In recent years, SNAP has been there to help. A change in the program to the block-grant structure would mean that those difficult times may not receive any extra funding.

Kathy Gardner, director of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, said a change like this would be “a disaster.” Gardner also said more than 220,000 Idahoans would be affected by this decision to move funding to the block-grant structure, and that families could see their personal support cut by more than $100 a month.

A petition signed by 15 organizations across the state, as well as 2,500 groups nationwide, has been delivered to all members of Congress. Signed primarily by religious, senior and children's groups, the letter urges members to oppose proposals that cut funding to SNAP. The letter and a list of organizations that signed it can be found at frac.org

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