Prior to COVID-19, nearly 40 million people did not know where they would find their next meal. In the wake of the pandemic, that number has risen to over 60 million and is still climbing. So why haven’t Congress and the Trump administration moved heaven and earth to get SNAP to all those Americans who need it?
Many of us are stunned by the coronavirus outbreak, unsure exactly what to do or how to proceed. Should we stockpile food? Work remotely from the couch? Cancel weekend plans?
But what if you don’t have enough money to feed your family in the first place? What if you can’t afford not to show up for work? What if you work in the service industry, where you can’t just work remotely? What if your community is still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis, and you have been out of work for months or years? What if your children’s school closes and they don’t have access to their usual free or reduced-price meals?
Hunger is not and has never been a meaningful incentive to find employment when employment is not there to be had. Yet the Trump Administration just announced a new rule restricting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for nearly 700,000 so-called “able-bodied adults without dependents.”
Until we can change the system that allows people to remain hungry, we cannot and will not rest. Not while a mother still anguishes when she has to put a child to bed hungry. Not while those struggling still forgo help because of stigma. Not while anyone in our country remains unable to access the food they need to thrive.
Trump’s budget proposes deep cuts to programs which provide necessary and life-saving services to low-income Americans, including attempts to decimate food stamps. Those impacted most will be, overwhelmingly, women and their children.
Make no mistake: Those most affected by the harsh proposals in this legislation will be women—specifically single mothers.