‘Tis the Season to be Hungry

SNAPphotoAs we dip into the holiday season and prepare to bake or fry our turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, more than 47 million Americans will feel harsher pangs of food insecurity.  On Nov. 1, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program’s (SNAP) benefits from the 2009 stimulus package will terminate, cutting the amount of federal assistance to the program by $5 billion.

SNAP, set up to help millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet by alleviating poverty and food insecurity, is now on the chopping block, and this budget decrease will affect every participant in the program, including about 22 million children.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), this means SNAPstatsthat SNAP assistance will now average less than $1.40 per meal. Subsequently, households of four will see a decrease of about $36 per month. This is an extensive loss, considering the already inadequate amount of assistance the program provides. “These cuts will be particularly painful for the many families who struggle to have enough to eat at the end of each month even with SNAP assistance,” says Stacy Dean, vice president for Food Assistance Policy at the CBPP.

While it is uncertain the federal government will amend this national hunger calamity, the CBPP urges state governments to step up and provide assistance to make up for the cuts. If not, those millions of families will have to wait on not-so-hungry politicians in Washington to agree on and pass a farm bill, which, among other things, decides on the fate of the SNAP budget.

Photo courtesy of Stampz via Flickr; Graph courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.



Shae Collins is the creator of A Womyn’s Worth, a social commentary blog that addresses interests of black women.