This week, the Senate considers a five-year Farm Bill that will have profound implications for hungry and malnourished people in the United States and around the world.
Despite promising improvements in the Millennium Development Goals, an estimated one billion people still live on less than $1.25 each day, 870 million people are chronically undernourished, and 2.6 million young children die each year from malnutrition. Meanwhile, extreme poverty is growing in the United States. Between 1996 and 2011, the percent of families living on less than $2 a day more than doubled, totaling 1.65 million households (including 3.55 million children) in 2011.
By strengthening domestic nutrition programs and enhancing U.S. food assistance to the world's most impoverished, lawmakers considering the Farm Bill have an opportunity to alleviate the cycles of hunger and poverty that deprive millions of the food that they need to survive and thrive.
Unfortunately, the Senate has proposed over $4 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP currently supports 45 million people in the U.S. every year with benefits to purchase nutritious food. These cuts would rob nearly 500,000 households of essential SNAP benefits.
Food for Peace provides approximately 1.4 million metric tons of food each year, saving lives in dire emergencies and combating chronic hunger in poor communities around the world. The Senate is considering reforms that would expand the reach of Food for Peace, making it an even more effective vehicle for global food security.
As Episcopalians, we advocate for programs that support needy American families and those at risk of hunger around the world. Now more than ever, your voice is crucial to ensuring that SNAP and Food for Peace are fully funded.
NYT: Food Stamps Helped to Reduce Poverty Rate, Study Finds
Learn more about reforms to U.S. Food Aid: