As this wonderful holiday for families approaches, I want to reach out and remind you that there are many families who have no gifts to give, and have no food to share with loved ones. Recently, I wrote a letter to a local editor urging our members of Congress to stand up for hungry children and families, and to reject any proposals to cut or restructure child nutrition programs and SNAP.
Many child nutrition programs are authorized under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Of particular importance are the Summer Food Service Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Currently, only 1 in 6 low-income children receive summer meals and WIC eligibility ends at age 5, creating a gap for children who have not started school by that age. Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) provides Congress with the opportunity to protect and strengthen child nutrition programs that provide year-round, nutritious meals to millions of children.
In March, the House of Representatives passed a budget proposal with deep cuts and dramatic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP is the nation’s primary defense against hunger and, at a time when over one in five American children is at risk of going to bed hungry, a critical lifeline for millions. In particular, the House budget paved the way for deep cuts and changes to SNAP by including SNAP and other programs in the budget reconciliation process. Fortunately, in negotiations with the Senate these cuts and changes to SNAP were taken off the “fast track” (using budget reconciliation) in part due to the public outcry from people like you! We need to keep up the pressure, though, and your voice is needed!
Like I did, you can send a letter to your local media outlet too!
- Mention your members of Congress BY NAME in your letter so they know you are a constituent.
- For more impact, create a custom letter by adding or changing text that makes your letter personal.
- Refer to a recent article in the paper about poverty or the budget.
- If you can include local or state data in your letter, do. You can find local poverty data at http://www.talkpoverty.org/poverty, and use new SNAP data by Congressional district from USDA
You can copy and paste this into your letter:
Subject: In reference to your coverage about Congress and budget priorities
I am outraged that some in Congress continues its assault on our neighbors struggling with poverty. Fortunately for families in our community and across the United States, Congress passed a final budget blueprint that does not put cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) on a fast track, but we need to remind them how important this program is. Furthermore, Child Nutrition Reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to protect and strengthen child nutrition programs without cutting SNAP.
Do lawmakers forget that the primary beneficiaries of SNAP are children, the elderly, and the disabled? Do they ignore that SNAP and child nutrition programs have been shown to improve nutrition and health outcomes in children? When it comes to reducing hunger and poverty, our investments in SNAP and child nutrition programs are helping millions of families access nutritious food — and with one in five American children at risk of hunger, we need to build on the success of child nutrition programs and SNAP.
Whether it’s signing a letter, sending an email, making a call or finding new ways to stand up for children, your voice is powerful in creating the change we need to end childhood hunger.
RESULTS, No Kid Hungry.org: Policy and Advocacy