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Economic Justice

Blog: Feed the Children? Feed the Elderly? Feed People with Disabilities?

May 22, 2013 | By Marge Clark, BVM

The Farm Bill is currently on the floor in the Senate. Yesterday (May 21) was not a good day for hungry people. Read more

NETWORK Deplores SNAP Cuts in Farm Bill

Both the House and the Senate Agriculture Committees are making wrong-hearted decisions as they each mark up a farm bill with significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps). This is the programs that:

Means-tested Programs

Means-tested programs are those available to persons or households that fall below a given level of income or economic worth. They are key to the social-safety net, intended to prevent falling into deep poverty. Among the means-tested programs in the United States are Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance), child care, selected education loans and grants, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, refundable tax credits and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps). 

Fiscal Cliff

The second session of the 112 Congress came to a close with the passing of H.R. 8 (the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or ATRA) on January 1, 2013. ATRA became law on the following day when President Obama signed the bill. This bill prevented the country from going off the so-called Fiscal Cliff.

Senate Budget - Food

Nutrition assistance programs have been significantly threatened by budgets proposed for the 2014 fiscal year. The “Responsible, Balanced Budget” presented by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would negatively impact SNAP, WIC, and other programs that help low-income families. Although over 90% of SNAP federal spending goes directly to needy families, the GOP’s budget proposes cutting the program by $135 billion over the next decade. Ryan also suggests reformatting the entire SNAP program and replacing it with lower-funded block grants, so states can “customize” the program.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a nutrition and health care program for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children. Through WIC, women and children receive food packages to promote a nutritious diet and improve development. Recent changes provide a wider range of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as allowing certain substitutions such as rice, tortillas, tofu and a greater selection of beans. Women also receive nutrition education through WIC so they are better prepared to raise healthy children.

Summer Nutrition Programs

When children are no longer in school during the summer, many lose access to the meals they eat through their school meals programs.  To remedy this, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which are run by local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or school sponsored programs, distribute either two meals or a meal and a snack a day. NETWORK supports continued funding of these programs, which act to serve children during a time of greatest need.

School Meals Programs

Several programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP), provide children with healthy meals each day at school. Through these entitlement programs, children become eligible for free or reduced meals based on their households' incomes. Read more

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The largest nutrition assistance program – the “first line defense” against hunger - is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP aims to diminish food insecurity among low-income families, reducing the extent of hunger in the United States. As an entitlement program, any household with a gross income at or below 130% of the poverty level is eligible for SNAP benefits. After applying participants receive monthly benefits with which to purchase food- about $1.50 per meal. A record number of people – 46.2 million Americans – enrolled in SNAP in August 2012.

Mind the Gap!

Engage your communities by facilitating a Mind the Gap! workshop, exploring the realities of wealth disparity in the United States today. Read more

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