Protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

By: 
By LORIANNE BURHOP

More than 100 anti-hunger, health, aging services, religious, agriculture, and local food organizations urge Montana’s congressional delegation to oppose any proposals to cut, restrict access, or make structural changes to SNAP.

A total of 116 organizations, including anti-hunger, health, aging services, religious, agriculture, and local food are sending a shared message to Montana’s Congressional leaders, urging support for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps). 

The organizations have signed onto a letter organized by the Montana Food Bank Network expressing concerns about ongoing deliberations on the federal budget and upcoming Farm Bill.

Signers of the letter urge Representative Gianforte and Senators Daines and Tester to reject any proposals that would undercut the ability of low-income residents in Montana to meet their basic nutrition needs, such as cuts or structural changes to SNAP in the Fiscal Year 2018 federal budget or other legislation.

“SNAP helps thousands of Montana seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income families put food on their tables,” a spokesperson for the Montana Food Bank Network said. “The program has received bipartisan support for decades, in part because of its proven effectiveness at alleviating poverty and hunger while also boosting the economy and improving public health.” 

The breadth of organizations signing on to this message illustrates the enormity of what is at stake for Montana families. Signers include Area Agencies on Aging, the Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Montana Farmers Union, MEA-MFT, the American Heart Association, Montana Association of Christians, as well as many food pantries, mental health and disability advocates, faith groups, Boys and Girls Clubs, and senior centers from across the state.

The timing of this letter is crucial, as the House Budget Committee passed their FY2018 budget resolution last week, cutting trillions of dollars for programs that help struggling families afford basic needs like food, housing, and health care. The committee specifically calls for $10 billion in cuts directed at agriculture, with reports suggesting those cuts would come primarily from SNAP, with an additional $150 billion in suggested cuts from dramatic downsizing and restructuring of the program.

SNAP is our nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program helping 120,000 Montanans keep food on the table every month. Nearly two-thirds of those who use the program are children, seniors, or people with disabilities. SNAP also helps nearly 40,000 low wage workers in our state make ends meet. In addition, the program provides an important economic boost to rural communities across Montana. In 2016, SNAP households spent roughly $166 million in SNAP benefits in 800 stores throughout our state, supporting jobs and local economies.

Our communities, our families, and our state are stronger when all Montanans have access to adequate nutrition to live healthy and productive lives. We urge our Congressional leaders to do what is best for our state and oppose the House budget resolution and any other proposals to cut, restrict access, or make structural changes to SNAP.

The letter and complete list of signers is available here: http://mfbn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Sign-on-Letter-for-Congressio...

 

Lorianne Burhop is the Chief Policy Officer for the Montana Food Bank Network.

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