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Farm Bill Threatens To Increase Child Hunger

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 10, 2012 8:40PM

2012_7_10_SNAP.png The 2012 Farm Bill, which passed the Senate last month, is going to be voted on in the House tomorrow. Known (in that special government way) as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, it's still incomplete, and many non-profits concerned with hunger and homelessness are particularly concerned about the $16.5 billion in cuts to SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. There are a lot of stereotypes about SNAP recipients that make it easier for them to be targets for conservative lawmakers, and these groups are doing their best to dispel them. In particular, Share Our Strength wants to remind lawmakers and voters that children are the real victims of cuts to SNAP.

Hunger is a real problem, especially in the current economic crisis. If you want to see the numbers brought a bit closer to home, check out this interactive graphic by Feeding America, which lets you see county-by-county exactly how many people (or children) are food insecure. The national map for children is particularly troubling, as almost no counties in the US have less than a 15 percent food insecurity rate for kids. Almost 45 million Americans receive some amount of SNAP benefits, and it is one of the only benefits in the entire welfare system that is available just because someone is poor. No proof of disability required - just proof that you can't afford food. A $16 billion cut (20 percent of total SNAP funding) would be devestating.

What is SNAP, really? Check out the video and infographic below and read about some common myths. Our favorite? That SNAP is a welfare program to help out lazy permanently-poor people. Actually, more than half of SNAP recipients receive benefits for less than 10 months—just enough to find a new job and get their feet under them again.

Feeding America has declared today National Call-In Day. If you want to contact your representatives and urge them to oppose cuts to SNAP, they make it easy. Just call their toll-free hotline and enter your zip code, and they'll connect you to the right place.